“In August 2019, my wife, Heather, spent two weeks staying on the Inpatient Unit at St Clare Hospice. It was during her stay that I bought some tickets for the Summer Raffle. Following that, Heather returned home under the support of the St Clare’s Hospice at Home team. Kathy, the Hospice at Home team leader, and her team visited Heather daily until she sadly passed away.
“The support we received from St Clare Hospice, at one of the most difficult times in our lives, was transformative. I had no idea how much a hospice could do, or the breadth of support they would provide to us.
“When the hospital initially referred us to the Hospice, we were assigned a Clinical Nurse Specialist who visited us at home to assess Heather’s needs. Following that, the nurse was then available for telephone consultations as often as we needed them.
“Later, Heather’s condition deteriorated, and she was offered a bed in the Inpatient Unit. Along with St Clare’s support to help control Heather’s symptoms, my time in the Hospice environment was significant in other ways. Particularly, it helped me to be orientated for the final weeks of Heather’s life that followed immediately after.
“The information and support I received from both the nurses and doctors was excellent, and gave me confidence to cope with, and to help manage, the situation we were in.
“The staff empowered me to support Heather in the best way I could when she was at home, both before and after her stay on the Inpatient Unit. They always had time for me and my family, and I never felt that they were rushing me, or that I was being a nuisance. To the contrary, in the last few weeks of Heather’s life, the Hospice at Home team repeatedly offered us more help that we were already receiving.
“After Heather’s stay at St Clare, there were a number of occasions when I needed to ring the Inpatient Unit, the Hospice at Home Team, or the Nurse Specialist for further help. I was comforted and felt reassured when the staff immediately knew who I was and what Heather’s situation was.
“In early September, Heather died at home, where she had wished to be. On the day of her funeral, the 27th, something amazing happened which was in sharp contrast to the other events of the day. I received a voicemail message from Paula, the Lottery Manger at St Clare, saying that I had won the first prize of £3,000 in the St Clare Summer Raffle!
“I couldn’t really take the news in until later that evening, when I was sitting with my family chatting through the events of the funeral day. As we all decided it was time to go to bed, I said ‘I’ve got a nice little story to finish the day with; you will not believe what happened earlier today…’ And I told them about the call from Paula. Receiving this news was such a welcome sparkle on what was otherwise such a profoundly sad day.
“I’ll be spending my prize money on fulfilling a life-long ambition – a trip to Israel. I am a Christian, and I have always wanted to visit the places where Jesus lived 2000 years ago, so it’s going to be very special to have the opportunity to do so.
“I am really so thankful to St Clare Hospice. At one of the most vulnerable times in your life, there is this incredible team of people who step forward to hold your hand and walk you through an extremely difficult journey.
“I so would not want to have done it without them!”