Betty was cared for at the Hospice recently, and her daughter Ann kindly shared her story with us:
“Our Mum was admitted to St Gemma’s on 3 December 2021 after being diagnosed with lung cancer in July. Her five-month battle was the most awful thing our family has ever had to deal with. Mum was all we had, and we were all struggling – we’d never known anyone with cancer. We didn’t know where to turn for help, guidance or support. Worst of all, Mum was becoming very anxious and scared. All she wanted was “to be in St Gemma’s”. This makes me smile now, as she’d always said if she was ever in such a position she didn’t want to go into a hospice. I think, deep down, she knew that she’d get the care she needed and deserved once she was there.
From the moment we entered St Gemma’s, I truly felt the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders! And I know my sister felt the same. I cry now just at the thought of it – Mum was going to be cared for at last!
I don’t have words to say how wonderful the staff are. Whether it was a nurse, healthcare assistant, the hospitality team or the lovely lady and gentleman who cleaned Mum’s room, she was treated with the upmost respect. They gave her back her dignity. Although Mum wasn’t awake a lot of the time, especially the last few days, they spoke to her, explaining what they were doing and why they were doing it. She wasn’t just ‘another terminally ill person’ to them – she was Betty, our Mum. Just 20 minutes before she passed away they were repositioning Mum, making sure she was comfortable despite them knowing she was very close to the end.
Mum went to her ‘forever sleep’ on 16 December. It was just Mum, me and my sister. While we were in the room on our own, we weren’t afraid or panicked – we knew the staff were right there. As soon as Mum passed away, we pressed the bell and they were there immediately – they knew and were so prepared. Again, they spoke as if Mum was still with us.
St Gemma’s, despite being a place where people do unfortunately have end of life care, it has the most uplifting atmosphere. You just immediately feel loved and cared for. It’s not just about the patients – the care is extended to the family too. The team are true angels! They’ll never know what their care meant to us as a family. They made Mum’s passing peaceful, and we couldn’t have asked for anything more.”