Remember someone special as part of our Sunflower Memories month.
Throughout June, you can dedicate a flower in memory of someone special, and make a donation to support local hospice care and services.
For a suggested minimum donation of £10, a sunflower in the virtual hospice garden will be dedicated to your loved one, and you’ll receive your very own sunflower plaque bearing your relative or friend’s name, to plant in your garden at home.
All the money raised during the month-long commemorations will go towards providing free palliative and end of life care to local patients.
This Sunflower Memories Month, Steven Searle from Buxton is remembering his beloved Grandma, Heather.
Blythe House’s Hospice at Home service provided care and support to Heather Buxton – who had kidney failure and cancer – earlier this year when she was discharged from hospital. Heather died in February, in the comfort of her own home in Chinley, with her family beside her.
Her grandson, Steven, explains: ‘Grandma had always been in good health. She was 81-years-old and except for a few issues and sometimes feeling unwell, she was generally fit and healthy. However, in November 2020, she collapsed in the bathroom at home and, my Grandad, Les called and asked me to help. Grandma was taken into hospital.
‘The next morning at about 5am, I received another call from my Grandad as the hospital had rung and said that sadly Grandma was dying. Thankfully, though, Grandma underwent a procedure to insert a tube into her side, to help support her kidney function. This was a success and Grandma’s recovery went well.
‘After spending nine weeks in hospital, Grandma was allowed home in early January and this is where the assistance from Blythe House started. Foday Kamara, the minister at my Grandparent’s church and a volunteer at a hospice, first suggested that Blythe House’s Hospice at Home service would be able to help.
‘Grandma had support from healthcare assistants (HCAs) during the morning and evening, helping with bathing and personal care, amongst other tasks. The healthcare assistants also provided overnight sits so that my Grandad and my Mum, who had moved into her parents’ home to help care for Grandma, could get a proper night’s sleep.
‘It wasn’t just the personal care that the HCAs were brilliant at. They provided so much advice and support around pain management and controls so that we could make sure Grandma was as comfortable as possible. It is a very intimidating thing having to look after someone who is so poorly, but they were on hand to answer questions and could point us in the direction of whom we would need to speak to about different aspects of Grandma’s care. The personal relationships that they struck up with not just Grandma, but the whole family, were equally brilliant.
‘The day before she died, Grandma was very distressed and screaming in pain. The HCA, Anna, stayed much longer after her shift ended, to help Grandma to feel safe and as comfortable as possible before we were able to arrange for some more medication.
‘Later that night, Hayley, another HCA who came for the night sit, made my Mum aware that sadly Grandma was dying. Mum was able to be there and hold her hand until the very end. Grandma died peacefully just after midnight on 19th February.
‘It was so important for my Grandma to be at home. After spending nine weeks in hospital, during the coronavirus pandemic, she was sometimes very emotional and distressed. It meant everything to be able to get Grandma home and to have the care in place from Blythe House, because that is where she wanted to be. It meant everything to me and my family to have her safe at home; nobody wants to think about their loved one dying in an isolated environment on their own.
‘As a family, without Blythe House, we wouldn’t have coped. We were a family in need, and although the whole situation was traumatic, to see Grandma so poorly, it was made one hundred times better by the Hospice at Home service and its amazing HCAs.
‘I am planting a sunflower this June in memory of my Grandma, and to support Blythe House to raise as much income as possible for this vital service.’