Hospice care was nothing like I expected

Robert and his granddaughter

Jessica Cobb saw two of her grandparents cared for at the Hospice within the space of a year and was comforted by the level of care and attention both they and their families received.

“I knew the hospice was there but I had never really thought about why it was there or what for. When I came to visit my grandad, hospice care was nothing like I expected at all, it was a million and one times better.

I just had in my head it was where people went to die and you just sat and waited. However it was such a lovely experience for what was a really sad thing.”

Jessica’s Grandad Robert was in the hospice for just over a week in October 2014. He has numerous types of cancer and was originally admitted for respite care whilst a home was found, but passed away whilst still under hospice care.

“He had four children, four grandchildren and one great-grandaughter at the time, so there was always somebody visiting. We were never made to feel we couldn’t spend those last moments with my Grandad – in fact we were encouraged to make the most of every moment.

I remember the evening before he died, the staff allowed myself and four other members of my family to stay into the early hours of the morning. We were having a good old giggle whilst my Grandad slept. We later apologised for the noise to one of the nurses who told us “Please don’t apologise, it lovely to hear you all laughing”. We always like to think of this as my Grandad’s final party and hope he enjoyed listening to those giggles.

After my Grandad died he was able to rest in dignity, we weren’t made to feel like we had to leave. I remember the staff putting flowers on his pillow once they had laid him out nicely, before they let us in to see him. I thought it was such a nice touch and something that sticks in my memory.”

The next year Jessica’s nan, Sylvia, was admitted for end of life care after suffering with lung cancer. Again she had a large family with two children, four grandchildren and one great-granddaughter who were all encouraged to visit, along with her close friends.

“My daughter had just turned one when my Grandad was admitted the previous year and would come with me every day to the Hospice She was learning to walk at the time so would bring her walker and wander up and down the corridor to keep herself occupied. When we came to visit again a year later was asked by one of the nurses if I had been in before, as she remembered my daughter learning to walk. It really touched me that even though the job they are doing has to be so hard, they really do put so much effort into each individual patient and their family and to remember us a year on was really warming.

Hospice care is so much more of a personal experience and is really focused on the patient and their families’ needs. If my grandparents had been in hospital, we wouldn’t have had the same experience at all, and I am truly thankful that they are here.

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