Sara’s dad spent the last weeks of his life being cared for in our In-Patient Unit, after a short but painful battle with kidney cancer. Sara is passionate about making sure more families have access to the amazing support that her family did. 

The memories of him being at the Hospice are peaceful and some of them are even happy

“My dad, Patrick, lived a really active, healthy life. He walked about 20,000 steps daily and always had endless energy for his grandchildren. He’d pretty much never been ill, until he started experiencing some worrying symptoms in January 2021 that resulted in a couple of hospital trips. That spring, after lots of tests, a tumour was discovered on his kidney. By early summer he received the devastating news that his cancer was incurable.  

 “Dad had no idea how long he had left to live, and he didn’t want to know. But from that point on, his health deteriorated rapidly. He was in so much pain and it was all down to my mum to take care of him, 24/7. He was on so many different medications, which needed to be administered multiple times a day, at different times.  Mum took the best care of dad. He couldn’t have asked for a better nurse, but it was such a massive strain on her and I know Dad hated that she was having to do so much for him. It was just an incredibly difficult few months. 

 “Dad’s condition was changing daily, so any pain management or care plan that was agreed would work for a short time, but then stopped taking effect and needed further review. We’d be waiting for more appointments while Dad was in agonising pain.  Then in mid-September we were able to get him a place at the wonderful Willen Hospice, which felt like a huge weight being lifted. He was finally able to get the professional care he needed and the In-Patient Unit team were able to adapt his medication at any point. He was the most comfortable he’d been, and as a family we were finally getting the emotional support that we so desperately needed. This ended up being Dad’s last couple of weeks. 

The staff and volunteers at the Hospice showed so much compassion

“The staff and volunteers at the Hospice showed so much compassion. They were really sensitive to what we were going through, remained upbeat and just kept smiling, even through the hardest times. They took the time to explain everything – multiple times if we needed it, and the volunteers were always putting their friendly faces around the door and offering us tea and cake.  

“Most importantly, being at the Hospice meant we could finally just sit with Dad, hold his hand and enjoy those last special moments with him, rather than having to focus on what he needed all the time. It certainly helped me so much with the grief. Some of the memories of Dad being so poorly at home are just too much to bear, and if that was all we had to remember about that time, I think I would have really struggled. But the memories of him being at the Hospice are peaceful ones, and some of them are even happy ones. I’ll genuinely be forever thankful for that.”