Big Hugs!

Home is Where the Heart Is

Jo Dunn, holding her medal after finishing her half-marathon in aid of us

Our Hospice at Home service has gone from strength to strength and is providing care for more and more people in our community.

As the demand on this vital service is ever increasing – with the nights of care given in 2014 up 40% from the previous year and the total of patients we have helped since 2010 having reached 280 (as of end of May 2015) – we, in the fundraising team, are working as hard as ever to make sure we have the funds to meet the demand.

Out and about in the community, the stories we hear from grateful members of the public telling us how incredible our Hospice at Home team are is humbling. We have asked one such person, Jo Dunn, to try and explain to you what it is that makes those nurses and our service so essential:

My lovely Dad, Joe Dunnachie, was diagnosed with lung cancer in September 2013.  The news was a huge shock to me and my family as my Dad has always been fit and healthy and was still working full-time.  Sadly my Dad’s health deteriorated very rapidly and, as he didn’t want my children to see his decline, my cousin Margaret very kindly let my Dad stay with her and her family.  Less than 4 weeks from his initial diagnosis, it became clear that my Dad didn’t have much time left.  The lung cancer had spread to his bones which produced dangerously high levels of calcium in his blood leading to pain, confusion and discomfort.

My Dad didn’t want to go into hospital and I wholeheartedly agreed with this wish.  However, he did need regular medical care.  The nursing and caring staff were attentive during the day, but we regularly had to call out the emergency nurse at night to administer medication. It was awful seeing my Dad in such distress and pain for long periods of time while we waited for the busy evening medical staff to get to us.

I will be eternally grateful that my Dad was referred to Lakelands Hospice.  Their Hospice at Home co-ordinator visited us to clearly explain the service they offered, arrange for my Dad to be assessed and to organise for one of their Hospice at Home nurses to stay with my Dad throughout the night.

The Lakelands Hospice at Home nurse, had a wealth of experience of palliative care and as such was extremely compassionate, calm, unobtrusive and professional.  I felt a huge relief that my Dad was receiving such attentive and personal medical care throughout the darkest and loneliest time of the day.  The Hospice at Home nurse ensured that my Dad was comfortable, received all of the pain relief that was required and allowed us to have a few hours rest, knowing that my Dad was being well cared for and that we would be awoken if necessary. 

My Mum died in 2010 after a long illness which had involved multiple hospital stays and her eventual passing in hospital.  Although the staff did their best, the ward setting was clinical, impersonal, noisy and offered no privacy at such a devastating time.  Under the care of Lakelands’ Hospice at Home service, my Dad’s passing could not have been more different.  Their involvement allowed my Dad to die with dignity, in comfort, pain free and in a warm home environment full of many happy memories.

The care that my Dad received was free of charge and Lakelands Hospice is entirely funded by voluntary donations and support from the local community.  I was so indebted to the Hospice for their amazing support that I vowed I would try to pay back their talented and committed staff.  Although I hated running at school and hadn’t ran since, I decided to commit to running my first half marathon to raise valuable funds for Lakelands.  The Great Birmingham Run was on the weekend of the first anniversary of my Dad’s passing so seemed a particularly poignant and relevant race to complete.  It was an exceptionally hard challenge, particularly in the early stages of training.  However, perseverance and a determination to help Lakelands spurred me on.  After over 50 training sessions, aching limbs, blisters, some tears and a lot of sweat, I managed to complete the half marathon and raise over £2,500 for Lakelands. 

I shall be forever indebted to Lakelands’ Hospice at Home service and will never forget the care and attention that they gave to my Dad and my family in his final days.  Watching a loved one die is one of the most difficult things we have to endure but being able to do this at home and knowing that your loved one is pain free, comfortable and surrounded by those they love makes it more bearable.

With an increase in the number of patients, like Joe, whom we are helping in the community, there has been an increase in demands on our finances. We are proud and honoured to be able to help families like Jo’s, and we will endeavour to do so every night of the year, year after year, but without any government or NHS funding we need your help.

A regular donation ensures that we can send our specialist nurses into people’s homes every time we are referred a patient, every day of the year.

By giving just £5 a month, you can help us make sure people in our local community – people like Jo’s father – are getting their wish to end their days at home, surrounded by their loved ones.

Your donation will give quality of life to our patients, and a legacy of memories and comfort in the most difficult of circumstances to the loved ones of our patients. Home is where the heart is – and we can make sure that care is provided there, right from the heart.

With your ongoing support, we can provide our ongoing care. Thank you.