Kelly and Kirsti's story

“Considering how Mum died, I never thought I would describe her final days as nice.”

Those were the words of Kelly Metcalfe not long after her mum, Elizabeth Usher, died, surrounded by her family on our Adult Inpatient Unit earlier this year.

Kelly’s sister, Kirsti Otterson added:

“I can’t thank St Oswald’s Hospice enough for all of the wonderful care you gave my Mum, in her final days. Losing your Mum in such a short time – six weeks from diagnosis to death, is a very traumatic experience. As much as we are grieving deeply for my Mum you definitely played a part in lifting a little bit of that away.”

Elizabeth was only with us for a few days but those days mattered – they mattered for her and they mattered for her two daughters and four grandchildren.

So, when Kelly and Kirsti got in touch to tell us what a difference we’d made to them and their mum, we knew we wanted to share their story to show how important getting the right end of life care is – and that how someone dies, really does matter.

Kelly said:

“We were at the point of crisis and it was looking like we were going to have to care for my Mum at home as there was no one available to help us. When we received the call to say there was a bed for her at St Oswald’s Hospice, we were of course relieved, but still unsure of what to expect.”

This feeling is not uncommon, as Anne Tuck, Matron of our Adult Inpatient Unit explained:

“Whenever anyone is admitted into our care, the team understand that this can be a frightening experience for patients and their loved ones. Therefore, all staff members, from medics and nurses to housekeeping staff, make every effort to make them feel at ease, supported and welcome from the moment they arrive.”

And it was no different for Elizabeth and her family, who were soon put at ease about their decision. Elizabeth was quickly settled in her private room, where the family could stay as much as the liked to spend time with her.

Kelly and Kirsi_1

“We breathed a sigh of relief as soon as we walked through the hospice doors. They treated Mum with so much dignity in her final hours.”

– Kirsti

Kirsti explained:

“Everyone we met from Maria at reception, to Flic the consultant and all of the nurses, medical and non-medical that cared for my mum, were just so kind.

Kelly added:

“All of the staff went to work ensuring that we were all okay and this included us, the family, as well as Mum. The doctors were very human and you could see that all of the team, no matter at what level, really cared.

“I can’t stress enough how truly incredible all of the staff are. We wish mum could have come to St Oswald’s Hospice sooner.

Kirsti agreed:

“We will be forever grateful for the way they cared for Mum.”

Kelly and Kirsi_2

“We all felt confident Mum was comfortable and she had a peaceful and calm death with her husband, Paul, at her side – and her dogs!”

– Kelly

Kelly said:

“The compassion and care is something that I have never seen in such abundance and everyone made something that could have been so unbearable, bearable.

“Considering how Mum died, I never thought I would describe her final days as nice.”

Compassion and care are two of our values that run through everything we do here at St Oswald’s Hospice. And Matron, Anne Tuck, sees that every day:

“No matter how long a patient spends at St Oswald’s Hospice our focus is patient led, so we help people achieve what is most important to them with the support of a caring and compassionate team.”

We are so happy to hear the difference we made for Elizabeth. Because life is precious and here at St Oswald’s Hospice we know that every moment counts and so dying well, with good care and quality time is important.

And if you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by love, like Elizabeth was, then those final days can even be “nice” – a special time for making lasting memories and saying those last goodbyes.

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