Hospice at home team helps keep families together during pandemic

18 Dec 2020

When coronavirus spread worldwide, it changed everyone’s lives, keeping people and families apart. It’s been especially hard for families where a loved one is living with a terminal illness or approaching the end of their life. Our Hospice at Home team at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice have been helping keep families together at home throughout the ongoing pandemic.

Compassionate care at home

To help keep people out of hospital and families together, the Hospice at Home team at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice has been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic, providing their expert and compassionate palliative care in people’s own homes.

Jonathan Goodwin’s wife of 50 years, Anna, received end-of-life care from the Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court’s Hospice at Home team during lockdown.

Anna, 74, had spent the previous months in hospital where visiting was restricted, so the opportunity for her to be cared for at home gave the family a chance to spend precious time together. Anna died on June 9, 2020.

Before lockdown I was going into hospital to see Anna twice a day

“Anna had been ill since the autumn of 2019”, shares Jonathan. “She started chemotherapy in October and had four sessions but she had been in hospital ever since the fifth session in January. Before lockdown I was going to see her twice a day but that wasn’t possible once the restrictions were announced.

“We had been told we would lose her when she was in the ICU but she recovered sufficiently to eventually move to Cirencester. When I got the call from Cirencester to come and say goodbye my son and I went in the middle of lockdown in masks and gowns but then she got slightly better again. However, in the end they had to send her back to Cheltenham because she wasn’t eating.”

I am so glad Anna came home as we were able to spend time together

“On Tuesday, May 5, the doctor at Cheltenham called to say I should go in. So I went in expecting it to be the last time I would see her, only to be greeted by the doctor who said if you’re willing we think she could actually come home or go to Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice. Sue Ryder’s inpatient unit was full so we decided that she would come home and that’s what we did.

“I think initially Anna had wanted to go to the inpatient unit because she didn’t want me to be upset but I’m so glad she did come home because we were able to spend that time together. Visiting at the hospice was restricted during lockdown.

“Anna was able to come home for the last two or three weeks of her life. The lovely Sue Ryder Nurses came three times a day for the weeks she was at home and every single one of them was just marvellous.

“It was really nice because for about the first 10 days she was quite lucid and we were able to have long talks about friends and family and holidays which was really lovely.”

The Hospice at Home team were so gentle with Anna

“She got worse and worse but it was made so much easier by having the Sue Ryder team to help. They really were terrific. They were so gentle with Anna and they were even concerned about me and how I was.

“Because Anna was able to come home both my sons were able to come for her birthday. We had a little family gathering with our four grandchildren in the garden. Her bed was by the French windows so she was able to see everyone.

“Every single one of the Sue Ryder nurses – and I think we must have seen at least 15 of them during the time they were coming – every single one of them was brilliant. I can’t speak highly enough of them.”

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic healthcare teams at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice have pulled together to do all they can to be there when it matters for people like Jonathan and Anna.”

We can’t stop caring

Elise Hoadley, Hospice Director at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, said: “It is an honour and a privilege for us to be there when it matters. And I am so grateful to our staff who have been prepared to do whatever is needed to support our patients and their families during the ongoing pandemic.

“There are so many families out there who need our care and we can’t and won’t stop caring. We want to continue to use our expertise and our skills continue to relieve pressure on the NHS too, no matter what this winter or the ongoing pandemic throws at us.”

Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice needs the support of the people of Gloucestershire. In November, Sue Ryder was forced to launch its second urgent fundraising campaign of 2020 in response to the devastating impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the charity’s finances. 

We hope our We can’t stop campaign will help combat the £2 million a month shortfall we are experiencing during the ongoing pandemic, while our care teams continue to play a key role in the coronavirus effort.

Find out further information about Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice.

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