Erika Clegg and her mum Rebecca
St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich and East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH) recently celebrated the first anniversary of their partnership, which has helped increase the provision of free palliative care across Great Yarmouth and Waveney with a more joined up service between the hospital and the hospice. Erika Clegg and her mother Rebecca benefited from this service when Rebecca needed palliative care; here Erika tells us about the support they received.
Erika’s mum Rebecca had been in hospital for a number of months before she started receiving care from the hospice in January this year. She was then cared for at home until she died aged 71 later that month.
Joined up care
“The St Elizabeth Hospice and ECCH team led the care process with great simplicity so I could focus on being there for mum, which is what really mattered” Erika explained.
“It really was a breath a fresh air for us when she entered the hospice service, as their support had continuity and we got to know the same faces. They made us feel comfortable and relaxed, which is very hard to do during such a difficult time.
“They always had time for us and there was no such thing as an odd question” she added. “Acknowledging a loved one is entering into the palliative stage is difficult, but the clinical nurse specialists made this transition so much easier, and it was reassuring to know we were in safe hands.”
A safe environment
Erika’s mum had said she wanted to die at home, surrounded by her family in the environment she felt safe in. “Mum died at home with kind people around her, and that’s what she wanted” Erika said. “In contrast my dad died six years previously in hospital, which was necessary at the time, but the passing we were able to give mum was far greater in quality. It felt more human, and there was a strong sense of love and warmth.
“After mum’s passing, the care from St Elizabeth Hospice didn’t stop. They contacted me within a few days to see how I had been and to offer further help if I needed it, like counselling and bereavement support.
“It’s clear to me there is a real sense of generosity behind everyone that works for the service, they don’t cut corners and they aim to meet the wishes of those under their care. They are here to help and they understand how to support people during the hardest of times.”