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health and wellbeing


Hospice at home I


would like to tell you about a service that is available to those who are terminally ill. My own experience was


through the Hospice at Home Service of Dorothy House Hospice in Wiltshire.


My wife Diane passed away in June 2003 having been fighting breast cancer for the previous eight years. In the April it was diagnosed that the cancer had returned yet again and that it was now in the liver and lung. The Consultant thought that Diane might have around six months to live. In the event that hoped for six months became just six weeks. The hospital put us in touch with Dorothy House Hospice and their incredible Hospice at Home Service. Our first contact was with the Specialist Nurse. She was so encouraging and supportive and we felt much more secure and safe when she was with us. Just knowing that she and all the staff at Dorothy House were there whenever we needed them was a tremendous support for us. Over the first few weeks our Specialist Nurse visited us a number of times, answering any questions we might have, and giving us all the information that we might need as well as supporting us emotionally and working in consultation with our own family Doctor.


We were amazed at just how much help and support there was available, and our Specialist Nurse was able to put us in touch with those who could assist us best.


We were told about Day and Night Carers that were available as and when we might need them, but in the first weeks after Diane’s diagnosis I was able, along with assistance from family and friends and with the needed medical support, to meet her needs. But by the Saturday before her death I knew that I needed more expert help in order for Diane to have the help and care that she needed. On that afternoon I asked for help for that night, so that I could try to get some much needed sleep, and immediately that help was there for us. Diane felt safe having the Carer with her and I was able to sleep reasonably well for the first time in many weeks and so be better able to care for Diane the next day. We continued with Carers at night for a few more days, and then by the early hours of the Wednesday morning I knew we needed constant care here for Diane. Immediately it was set in place and we were not left alone again.


Diane passed away very peacefully in the early hours of the Thursday morning, with myself and our little girl by her side along


with my brother and his wife and our Carer. Having the folk of Dorothy House with us and all their resources available to us, made it possible for Diane to be here at home, which is what she and I so wanted. The love and support given to us was overwhelming really. I never dreamt that such care was available. Each person we came in contact with from Dorothy House seemed like part of our family, we felt loved and cared for by them all and we felt safe in their hands. I will be always grateful for the work of Dorothy House Hospice at Home. It is a remarkable service carried out by remarkable people. That care has not ended with Diane’s passing, and still continues for myself and my 11 year old daughter as we may have need.


Hospice at Home cares for the whole family and is able to meet whatever needs there are in a gentle, loving and tender way.


Some local hospices operate this service; your local hospice will be able to advise you on the closest one. Otherwise you are welcome to contact Dorothy House directly for more information 01225 722988. 


Revd John R Schofield Wiltshire


www.arthurrankcentre.org.uk 17


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