Today, on his mum, Zena’s, birthday, Jonathan shares his story about the care she received from our nurses, both from the Community Team and on our In-Patient Unit.
“I got to know the amazing nurses at St Gemma’s in June 2021, when my mum, Zena, passed away in the Hospice, aged 84. She had been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis three years previously. Before her diagnosis, she lived a very active life, continuing to teach yoga into her late seventies, even while contending with Parkinson’s Disease.
After approximately a month in the kind-spirited care of the wonderful nurses of the Community team, my mum’s conditioned worsened over the course of one weekend. After contacting the team on Monday morning, she was admitted to the Hospice on Tuesday, where she spent the last seventeen days of her life.
Having become fully dependant on oxygen, and unable to get out of bed, it became very hard for my mum to continue living at home. It was challenging for her to accept the constant need for oxygen, while she could no longer keep the house in the tidy state she prided herself on. Even as it was incredibly sad, she knew St Gemma’s was the right place to be.
At St Gemma’s, we were able to focus on spending time together as a family again, owing to the extraordinary support of the nurses and staff. From the moment we arrived in the ambulance, my two brothers and I were welcomed, and cared for, alongside our mum. The support was invaluable for us through what was a very difficult time.
My brothers and I were extremely grateful for the sensitive manner in which the team prioritised our mum’s dignity and comfort, helping us to laugh together again, in spite of our intense sadness. The beauty, peace and tranquillity of the Hospice gardens was tonic for us; the gardens were a space where we experienced some consolation in hard times, and where we could have moments of contemplation and reflection. I am even planning to recreate one of the water-features in my own garden, which will be a nice way of remembering my mum at peace.
I was astonished by the wonderful nurses, and by their joyful approach to their work. I had not expected to find any joy in my mum’s final days, yet the care and compassion my mum, my brothers and I experienced at St Gemma’s was, in many ways, uplifting.
My brothers and I were able to stay overnight with my mum in her room during the last week of her life, and the staff took great care of us, going above and beyond to bring us extra pillows, making sure we were all comfortable. We will always be grateful for everything St Gemma’s did for my mum, and for the family.”