Alice, a Hospice at Home Support Worker, visited Malcolm and Rita for over a year, after being referred to Ashgate Hospicecare by their GP. Rita had been living with Multiple Sclerosis, MS, for 25 years and also had dementia. Sometimes, Malcolm found it difficult to care for her on his own.
Malcolm said, Most of the time I was living in a silent world. Rita never said a word and stressed quite a lot and I had to calm her down.
Having Alice visit every Friday for just three hours was a real help for both Malcolm and Rita. Malcolm added, It was nice when Alice came, and I could have a natter. We could have a sit and a brew. Alice helped me in the home as well. The service was invaluable.
Alice had been coming for over a year and we built up a relationship. Rita was also comfortable with Alice “she was sometimes upset by new faces, but as we saw Alice regularly, she was fine.
Malcolm feels that not many people know the extent of support Ashgate Hospicecare offers to patients and their families in their own homes.
“I don’t know how many people actually realise what you do outside of the hospice. I didn’t know myself until I got involved with it. It’s wonderful.
Inside the hospice is really good “ Rita went to the Day Hospice for 18 visits; that was lovely. She really enjoyed it, the staff were brilliant up there. It gave me a 6 hour break “ that’s like winning the lottery for a carer. It might not sound a lot but that 6 hour break is marvellous. It makes you feel so good and for two/three days before it, you’re looking forward. It’s so important, that mental space.
Ashgate also helped adapt the couple’s home to meet Rita’s needs. Rita was very unsteady on her feet and needed extra help moving, as a result of her MS. Malcolm said, Ashgate helped me to get the wheelchair and the ramp for the home. These pieces of equipment were invaluable for Malcolm as he moves Rita around the home, given he too suffers with a bad back.
Malcolm’s story is an insight into the life of a carer and how just a few hours a week from an Ashgate Hospicecare nurse can help him cope with his wife’s illnesses.