“Paul was always a very active, sporty person,” says Carol. “We were also volunteer Puppy Walkers for the Guide Dogs Association, but that all came to a halt when Paul became ill.”

 

Paul was diagnosed with skin cancer in July 2019. As his illness progressed he was referred to Phyllis Tuckwell, and in November he and Carol were visited by Pam, one of the Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs). “Pam would visit us at home,” says Carol. “She would ask Paul how he was feeling and adjust his medication if it needed changing at all.”

 

Paul’s condition deteriorated throughout February, and he spent a week in the Royal Surrey County Hospital. “When he came home, we were visited by Phyllis Tuckwell’s Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy teams, to loan us some specialist equipment for him to use. Paul was also supported by Hospice Care at Home service, two Health Care Assistants started visiting us twice a week to help Paul with washing, shaving and changing clothes.”

 

As Paul’s illness progressed, Pam suggested that he be admitted to the In-Patient Unit (IPU), where he could receive 24 hour specialist medical and nursing care. “His symptoms had become more acute,” says Carol, “and he needed the medical care that the IPU would provide. Pam was very timely in her recognition of this.”

 

“Paul was admitted to the IPU on Easter Sunday. We were met by a very helpful and caring professional team, in a calm environment. His room was quiet, bright and comfortable.”

 

“As well as this being the next step for Paul, it was also a big change for me – the beginning of the end after so many months of caring for him at home. It was hard to suddenly change from being a carer for so long and then to relinquish that care. As his symptoms worsened, Paul needed much more help with mobility, eating and personal care, but the nursing staff helped him with all of these things. They were attentive and considerate; they talked to him and listened to his responses. It was a great comfort to see that they didn’t just focus on his illness, but cared for him as an individual.”

“Paul’s final days were long and drawn out, and really quite harrowing. The staff at Phyllis Tuckwell supported all three of us throughout, though. Chaplain Jill visited Paul daily and got to know him well. She was a huge comfort to us all at the end of his life. She and all the staff treated both me and Steph with exceptional kindness, respect and consideration at every visit.”

 

“Phyllis Tuckwell has a strong support system in place following a patient’s death and they phoned me to ask how I was doing, and to remind me that they are there to help if Steph or I needed them. It’s comforting to know that they’re still there for us.”