Thursday, 8 October 2015

Hospice Care Week 2015: My Experience

So today I want to talk to you about something a little different. Every year Hospice UK hold Hospice Care Week to raise awareness of hospice care across the UK. In March 2012 my father in law Rob passed away in LOROS hospice and I wanted to share my experience.

I remember the day that Rob first came round to tell us that he had terminal cancer. Sat in the living room of our shared house, the words "there is nothing they can do, I have 6 to 9 months" echoed around my head. You see it was only a week or so before that Rob had been told that he had cancer, and now this. I had worked in a hospital for 3 years and was still coming to terms with caring for people who were dying and now my father in law was too. 

That night was a bit of a blur, but one thing I can remember is eating sweet and sour chicken balls, strange the things your mind remembers! Before his diagnosis, I hardly knew Rob but during the last 6 months of his life we got really close, which still seems a cruel trick of nature that just as I was getting to know him he was taken away.

The first time Rob went to LOROS was in January 2012. He had been admitted to hospital with dehydration and was transferred for a bit of respite care. As soon as we heard the words LOROS I panicked. Naively I thought that people only went into LOROS when they were imminently dying. However they provide a number of services including symptom management and day therapy. I also believed that the place would be like a care home. In reality it is very calming, although the bays look like a hospital the atmosphere is a lot more calm. 

Our second visit was in March 2012, as Rob had decided that this is where he wanted to spend his final days. He was in a bay with four other men, and the support that we got from speaking to the other families was amazing. I have to give a special mention to the volunteers who were at the little cafe bar - they made sure Robs squash was just perfect! He even said so himself.

Every single member of staff there was friendly and positive. Myself and my husband decided to stay overnight when we knew that Rob hadnt got long left. We were offered a family room to sleep in, but decided that we would stay by his bedside. I don't know how the nurses managed to do it, but they let us know that they were there while at the same time giving us our privacy.

When he passed away the staff again were there for us, and gave us the time we needed to say goodbye. I cant praise LOROS enough, they were there for us and made a hugely upsetting time in our lives bearable.

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