In June this year Rachel was able to fulfil her Grandma’s end of life wish to die in the comfort of her own home with the support of Blythe House Hospicecare & Helen’s Trust
Rachel shares her family’s story below:
My Grandma enjoyed a colourful life and, for her, family came first. She had a fantastic sense of humour and wit that remained right up until the very end. Grandma had many hobbies, including baking, ballroom dancing, gardening and travelling. Holidays were a highlight, and her and my late Grandpa Eric visited many places around the world. Family was a priority, you would often hear her say what a good life she lived and how thankful she was to be so lucky.
Grandma was fortunate enough to have always been in good health until she was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia in 2016. At that time our family learnt that it is important for dementia patients to be around familiar surroundings.
At the beginning of June Grandma became poorly and was admitted to hospital with pneumonia. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions we were unable to visit her which was a very difficult time for the family. At home we would see or speak to her every day, in hospital we had no way of contacting her and we knew that being on her own in unfamiliar surroundings would be unsettling and disorientating for her.
After 6 days in hospital we received a phone call at 5am to say her health had rapidly deteriorated and she was now in end of life care. We were allowed to visit her, but our main priority was getting her home. The Hospice at Home team at Blythe House created a care package and put plans in place to get my Grandma discharged very quickly.
Being able to bring her home made all the difference, she was so excited and her spirits immediately lifted. She lived for a further two and half weeks surrounded by her home comforts, and managed to enjoy her favourite tipple with some water in her last days of life. She was still able to recognise us and being surrounded by her belongings and family photos was the best place for her to die peacefully.
We could not have cared for her as a family without the support of Blythe House. The care and support from the Hospice at Home team was incredible and invaluable. All the healthcare assistants showed such respect and compassion for my Grandma; nothing was ever too much trouble.
My Grandma had always said that her only wish for the end of her life was to be at home and die surrounded by her family. We had talked about her downsizing before her diagnosis, but she was very adamant that staying in her home full of memories was the most important thing for her.
As a mum of two boys, I felt much better about them seeing her at home than visiting her in hospital. My Grandma loved having her family around her and my boys being able to create those last memories of their Great-Grandma, full of laughter and happiness and content in her own home, is something that gives me comfort now and always will.
Because of Blythe House, we were able to keep our promise to my Grandma, ensuring she was safe and very well looked after in the comfort of her own home.
By lighting up a life for Grandma, my donation will go towards supporting Blythe House Hospicecare and Helen’s Trust’s services in the future, providing vital care to people like Grandma, who wish to remain in their own home at the end of their life, with their loved ones by their side. The Hospice at Home team has supported over 234 local patients between January and September this year; enabling them to remain at home where they feel most safe.
For a suggested minimum donation of £10, a light on the virtual Blythe House Hospicecare tree will be dedicated to your loved one, and their name will be listed in the Order of Service for the Light up a Life ceremony. You will receive an invitation to the service to be held on Sunday 12th December at 4pm, with a choice of attending in person or watching online. You will also receive a personalised tree hanging and your own copy of the Order of Service to keep.