Yvonne’s Story – supported by Phyllis Tuckwell
07 September 2020
Yvonne’s husband Don was cared for by our Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs) and Hospice Care at Home (HCAH) team, and was able to die at home, where he wanted to be.
“Don and I were very independent people,” says Yvonne. “We’d always looked after each other. We were devastated when he was diagnosed with cancer. He had chemotherapy, but eventually they couldn’t do any more for him and he was referred to Phyllis Tuckwell for end of life care.” “Don didn’t want to go to hospital, and I didn’t want him to go either. He wanted to stay at home. Sophie, one of Phyllis Tuckwell’s CNSs, came to our house to see him, and discuss his illness and the care he needed. She was very open and honest; it was nice to be able to talk to someone about what was going to happen next.” Our CNSs are often the first members of our team to see a new patient, and can refer patients on to other PTHC services, such as Hospice Care at Home.
“As Don’s condition deteriorated, Sophie arranged for the HCAH team to start visiting us daily. They would help him shower, and then dress him and make sure he was comfortable. There are no words to describe how much those visits meant to us. Don got on well with all of them, but he had particular affection for Veronica and Will. His face would light up when they arrived. They were very kind to me too. They would always ask me if I was ok, and if I needed anything.” “By this time the UK was in lockdown because of Coronavirus, but Will, Veronica and the team would still visit. They would put on full PPE before they saw Don – masks, gloves, aprons, visors, the full kit. It didn’t bother us at all, they still gave Don the most amazing care.”
“Sophie still called regularly to see how Don was. We had numerous long telephone conversations, which really helped me to get through what was the most devastating time of my life.” “Don died at home on the 12th June. It was so important to us that he was able to stay at home throughout his illness, and I’m very grateful to Phyllis Tuckwell for enabling this. The care they provided was second to none; they were totally amazing. They were so kind and caring, and they really looked after my husband.”
“There are no words to describe how much those visits meant to us.”