"Thank you Ashgate Hospice for letting this happen. Thank you for extending Terry’s life and thank you for giving us the holidays of a lifetime.”
Emma Wilson, from Chesterfield in Derbyshire shares her story of the care her husband, Terry received at Ashgate Hospicecare. Terry Wilson, 53, had been suffering with bowel cancer for nearly three years. In July 2015, he received the devastating news that the cancer had spread to his kidneys and he only had three months left to live. Following numerous admissions to hospital, Terry was put in contact with Ashgate Hospicecare in July.
Emma said, "Terry always thought hospices were for older people, but having spent a week in here he couldn’t believe how caring all the staff were. From the dieticians to the rest of the staff, they were all amazing.<br /><br />
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Once Terry's symptoms were effectively managed, he was discharged from the hospice and returned home after just 1 week on the Inpatient Unit. Terry was able to have a week in Cornwall and a weekend in the Lake District."<br /><br />
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"The last holidays we had were amazing, Cornwall was one of Terry’s favourite places. He'd been going down to Cornwall since he was a child, and he and I always went once a year without fail. So, our wish of going back there, as a family was able to go ahead and I will never forget it."<br /><br />
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"The two holidays that we had post Terry's admission into Ashgate, were to be the last of his life. But, had it not been for his week in Ashgate Hospicecare, they wouldn't have been possible, so for this, we will be forever grateful. The Hospice turned Terry's life around."<br /><br />
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"Memories are not only in your mind but are also on photographs and I have lots of memories of Terry on our last holiday in the Lake District, mostly with our little grandson, Max. I look back on these photographs and sometimes I'm in tears and other times I just look back and think, "Gosh, thank you Ashgate Hospice for letting this happen. Thank you for extending Terry’s life and thank you for giving us the holidays of a lifetime."<br /><br />
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In November 2015, Terry was readmitted to Ashgate Hospicecare and on the 15th of November, he sadly passed away.<br /><br />
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Emma said, “Ashgate Hospicecare gave us all the facilities we required to be able to not leave Terry’s bedside in his final few days. None of us returned home for around 4 days, we had food, beds and showers. It was such a relief to know we had everything there that we could possibly need. This enabled Terry’s close family to be at his bedside during his final days which was one of his final wishes."<br /><br />
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"I cannot fault anybody at this hospice. It is clean, it’s tidy, it’s well supervised and the nurses were fantastic with Terry."<br /><br />
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"I’d like to say thank you to everybody at Ashgate Hospice for what they did for us whilst we were here and the support and care they have given me since. Thank you everybody."<br /><br />
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Since Terry died, Emma, along with family and close friends have been heavily involved with Ashgate Hospicecare and its fundraising department. She took part in last year's Sparkle Night Walk and has re-entered for this year's as well.<br /><br />
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Emma said, "My son along with close family friends who also have similar experiences have organised an annual golf day to raise money for the hospice and continue to plan this years event as we speak. I've personally done a few sponsored walks, but one of the best I went on was the Sparkle Night Walk. It was amazing and the atmosphere from start to finish was so much fun with lots of laughter whilst raising money for a great cause."
My mam, Dorothy Briggs.
My mam was diagnosed with lung cancer in September 2012 and it was ‘controlled’ until April 2015 when we were told it had spread to her lungs. Mam took it quite well but over a period of 2/3 months and her living alone, it became obvious she wasn’t coping well and wasn’t taking her medication correctly. The local district nurse, social services and palliative care nurses became involved and mam had all the equipment possible to help her cope at home. She was self-administering medication including morphine but became confused in her daily life and with her medication. She was admitted to a care home for respite care but unfortunately had a fall and broke her hip and was then admitted to hospital. It was a terrible time because we all thought we had lost her there and then. After an operation and a number of weeks in hospital it was decided she required special care and that was our introduction to Ashgate. Again we thought – hospice - end of life – it was a very scary time. Mam was very poorly
From the moment we arrived at the Hospice it just felt so right. All the staff were fantastic and fully explained what they were doing and why. After a few days mam started to look a little better and was more responsive and one day when I walked into her room she was sat up in bed looking like her old self. The nurses were always in and out, having a laugh and joke with mam and us. It was great, a real homely atmosphere; even to the extent that mam thought she was in another nursing home and kept saying that she would like to stay for good. One time when one of my brothers was visiting mam, it was a lovely day and the nurses opened up the French doors of her room and pushed her bed out into the court-yard so that they could chat and have a cup of tea in the sunshine. Soon after that day she was able to be hoisted into a wheelchair and we would push her around the beautiful gardens and sit in a quiet corner and talk or just take in the tranquil surroundings.
The gardens are always kept so beautiful. Mam loved Ashgate and everyone she came into contact with there – doctors, nurses and the volunteers who provide their time so freely. Everyone was so friendly to mam and to us. After a few weeks mam had to leave Ashgate as she was as well as she could be and required permanent nursing care, so we found her a home close to her family home. Unfortunately after a week she started to deteriorate again and 10 days after leaving the Hospice she passed away. That was on 22 August 2015. I know though that she was given care and love from everyone at Ashgate and I can’t speak highly enough of everyone there and will sing their praises to anyone and everyone for making my mam so happy during the last few weeks of her life. I will be eternally grateful to them and in recognition of the brilliant service that they provide I have taken part in the Sparkle Walk for the past 2 years (already signed up for next year) to help raise funds for the fantastic charity. My husband and other family members have also taken part and have also signed up for next year. I can only say that until you need the help and care from a special organisation as Ashgate Hospice, you don’t understand what they do. The whole experience of their care and support is so comforting to everyone that enters through the door. Each and every member of staff is truly an Angel in disguise. Thank you Ashgate from the bottom of my heart.
John and Mary
"After two weeks on the Inpatient Unit, I realised that I was in the very heart of the hospice and felt most humbled by the huge amount of tender loving care which fills its heart"
John Randles, (81), from Dronfield was diagnosed with heart problems in 2003. Having been referred to Ashgate Hospicecare by his GP, John was offered a bed on their Inpatient Unit where his symptoms could be effectively managed. In his own words, John wrote a letter to the team at Ashgate sharing his personal experience of the hospice. John said: “It all began after a bladder examination at Chesterfield Royal Hospital. Water retention developed until I could barely walk and a month of pills taken orally had not helped. My GP, knowing that a weak heart was part of the problem, arranged a visit to use the specialist treatments available at Ashgate Hospicecare.
"So there I was, bag packed and frightened of an unknown future. But I was soon calmed down by a coffee and a chat with the Activities Coordinator, who had a lovely southern Irish Cork accent. My treatment was carefully explained by the doctors. Slow but steady progress was made in the first week with various tweaks to my medication. “I felt short of exercise so asked for, and quickly received, a physiotherapist called Stephen. He put some exercises together for me with detailed information on how to get the best out of them. The exercises have rapidly improved my swollen legs and helped me to lose ten pounds in the second week, helped of course by Ashgate’s equipment. “After two weeks on the In-patient Unit, I realised that I was in the very heart of the hospice and felt most humbled by the huge amount of tender loving care which fills its heart. Besides the care, there are many regular physical checks. Bed sores, for example, have no chance to develop. The food is very, very nice, and with choices for each course, it is easy to overeat as the dishes seem designed to tempt. There are frequent surprises too such as Chantilly cream and Apple strudel! Perhaps most important is that everything is sparkling clean – there’s no risk of an upset tum from this food! “I’m going home a new man after careful treatment at the hospice.
I cannot thank the staff at all levels enough. The things I’ll remember the most are the happy giggles from staff trickling up and down the corridors, breakfast and a three course lunch served on a doily covered tray and a cheerful good morning.” Feeling upbeat and rejuvenated, John returned home but sadly died a few weeks later. His wife, Margaret, says: "Ashgate enabled John to have a few upbeat weeks at home and a holiday at Christmas which we are very grateful for. £450 was collected at his funeral which is being donated to the hospice."
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‘I’m so glad I’ve come’ because she kept saying how lovely everybody was and how they couldn’t do enough to help her.”
Nicki Kehoe was diagnosed with brain cancer in September 2013, just two weeks after her and her best friend Natalie had booked to go to Las Vegas. It was soon discovered that the brain cancer was secondary, and in fact the primary cause was lung cancer. Nicki was put in touch with Ashgate Hospicecare when she was first diagnosed, but it wasn’t until December 2014 that she was admitted to their Inpatient Unit. Natalie, 37, says: “Nicki wanted to stay at home and was a bit reluctant about going to the hospice at first. I think she saw going to the hospice as admitting defeat, and she didn’t want to do that. But in the end she did say ‘I’m so glad I’ve come’ because she kept saying how lovely everybody was and how they couldn’t do enough to help her.” Unfortunately, Nicki deteriorated quickly and died at the hospice on 15th January 2015 – just 3 weeks after she was first admitted. She was 42.
Although Nicki wanted to be at home, Natalie can find some comfort in knowing that her last few weeks were spent in a similar environment. “Ashgate is very different to other medical environments. It’s very welcoming and Nicki always had an influx of visitors. The whole family can come to visit at any time and although it’s still a hospital setting, it’s far better. Me, Nicki and her sister had a girls night in one night. We brought Mcdonalds and Baileys to the hospice and sat in Nicki’s room watching X Factor on the TV. It was like she had her own little home in her room. She had a pin board with pictures on it and her own blanket from home, so it felt really homely and less like a hospital. The staff are really lovely too – always asking if you wanted a drink.” In 2014, Nicki and Natalie organised a Zumbathon and craft fair which raised nearly £3,000 for Ashgate Hospicecare. Since Nicki’s death, Natalie has continued to fundraise for the hospice by running the 2015 Chesterfield Marathon.