Staff photo

Vicky’s Story

"Ashgate Hospicecare really is an amazing place and they made such a difference to everyone in the family.”

Brian, from Shuttlewood, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2003, but it wasn’t until 2013 that he found out that the cancer had spread to his bowel and spine.

Vicky told us about how Brain was coping with the condition; “He was at home, but it was horrendous. The pain he was experiencing was excruciating and he eventually couldn’t walk. He had to lie completely flat all the time and was getting a lot of bed sores. Eventually, it was decided that he needed to go to Ashgate Hospicecare, but he really didn’t want to go.”

Vicky added, “Two hours after going into the Hospice, everything changed. He was uplifted. We were relieved he went to Ashgate. They sorted out all of his medication so he wasn’t in so much pain like he was before. He started to get back to himself, ringing people up, making them laugh. It made such a difference to him and the family.

“The nurses turned him every 2 hours and washed him, so his bed sores were less of a problem. It was like a holiday centre to him. He loved it.”

Previous to Brian going to the Hospice, the family were not aware that he was terminally ill.

Vicky said, “Noone ever said anything to us that it was terminal. It wasn’t until we got to Ashgate that we were told. They sat us down in a room and actually had the time to talk to us. They were open and honest with us about what was going off. We were so angry that noone had said anything before and were honest with us. With Ashgate Hospicecare’s nurses talking to us like they did, it made us feel trustworthy to them and we were all of a sudden more relaxed, not thinking ‘what’s going off now?’ If anything changed with dad whilst he was in the Hospice, the nurses were on the phone to us straight away. With the family being more relaxed and in the know to what was happening and what was going to happen, it meant dad was more relaxed in himself and that made him feel better.”

Brian was a farmer, so was particularly used to being outside in the fresh air. Many are surprised that when at the hospice, patients are able to go outside, even if they cannot get out themselves.

Vicky added, “They took him outside in his bed and we took the dog to visit him, which meant the world to him as he really loved the dog. He felt normality for the first time in a long while and he needed that normality.”

Brian died at Ashgate Hospicecare in 2013 aged 78. Vicky particularly remembers the detail and care taken up until his death, especially as he liked being outside.

Vicky said, “When he died, all the curtains to his room were open and the sun was shining. It was a surreal moment for us all and it’s what he would have wanted. It made the experience more bearable and I’ll never forget it.”

Vicky was a lot younger when her grandfather died around 20 years ago, but even to this day, she can remember the moment when he died.

Vicky said, “When my grandfather died, the nurses put a red rose in his hands. It was a truly poignant moment that I will never forget. Ashgate Hospicecare really is an amazing place and they made such a different to everyone in the family.”

Arrow

Bill’s Story

Please donate today!

£

Your donation matters...

Stories like these are made possible by your kind donations...

Arrow

Matt’s Story

Ian’s Story

"The support worker would arrive with a ready smile and gave Maggie someone different to talk to apart from me. It also helped me as I could have some free time for an hour or two as I knew there was someone there to hold Maggie’s hand."

Ashgate Hospicecare brings you it's 9th #SeptemberStory from Ian Taylor who shares his experience of the care provided by Ashgate Hospicecare to his wife, Maggie.

Maggie Walster-Taylor was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2013. Already a sufferer of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an MRI scan showed that the cancer had spread to her ribs, lungs, spine and pelvic bones. Maggie died at home on 9th January 2014, aged just 58. Her husband, Ian Taylor, shares his story and explains how Ashgate Hospicecare helped him in the lead up and following Maggie’s death.

Ian says, “Within a few days of Maggie being diagnosed, we were contacted by Ashgate Hospicecare. A month later, Maggie was confined to her bed and it was at this stage that the hospice really became involved. Frequent phone calls were received to ascertain whether she wanted anything. From day one Maggie had insisted that she wanted to die at home, so when a bed became available on the hospice’s Inpatient Unit and was offered to her, she politely declined.

“The Hospice at Home team became more involved with frequent visits which Maggie came to look forward to. The support worker would arrive with a ready smile and gave Maggie someone different to talk to apart from me. It also helped me as I could have some free time for an hour or two as I knew there was someone there to hold Maggie’s hand. It gave me the opportunity to do the shopping, although the team had offered to do it for me if I wanted. She was being cared for and I was being supported.

“These few examples of practical help were far outweighed by the emotional support they gave me. I knew the team were only a phone call away and in between their visits they would phone me too.

“After Maggie’s death, Ashgate began focusing their time on me. They introduced me to a Group Bereavement course at the hospice and within a short period of time we all gave tremendous support to each other. We gave ourselves permission to laugh again, which at the time I didn’t think I’d be able to do. At the end of the 6 week course, we had developed a strong bond of friendship knowing we were there for each other.

“After the group support, I personally felt that I needed individual counselling. The Patient and Family Support Team organised weekly sessions for me which they said could continue as long as I needed them for. When all of that came to an end, I was concerned that that would be the final ending but thankfully we have an ongoing weekly social group called ‘Ashfellows’ that continues the support. There are always lots of people chatting and laughing over tea and biscuits so it’s a lot of fun!”

Did you know?

We offer ongoing bereavement support to all our patient's families.

Please help us by making a donation...
Arrow

Please donate today!

£

Your donation matters...

Stories like these are made possible by your kind donations...

Arrow

Sally’s Story

Alexandra’s Story

“I didn’t realise at the time but without Ashgate, I’d have gone away with my grief and who knows how I would have dealt with it.”

Alexandra Wright first heard about Ashgate Hospicecare from her doctor following the death of her sister. Within two weeks of one sister dying, she found out that her other sister Ruth had been diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.

Alexandra said, “I started getting quite depressed and was suffering from severe anxiety attacks. It was really scary and quite overwhelming. I was finding it very difficult to cope so my doctor referred me to the hospice. I brought my older sister Lynn along and we both saw Tracey from the Patient and Family Support team who decided that we could do with some support from the hospice. They helped me out of a really dark place and the nice thing is that when my sister died the support carried on.

“She would say: ‘Look, if you find yourself in that dark place again, I’m only a phone call away!’ I can’t tell you how lovely and reassuring those words were. It wasn’t just ‘That’s it – done. Goodbye’ and it’s really, really important that families know that. They need to know that support is there to help them through a dreadful time. Ashgate helped me to accept what was happening and to come to terms with it. It’s important that people know that Ashgate isn’t just a ward – there are other things they offer too.

“There are so many myths about hospice care that stopped Ruth from wanting to go to Ashgate. It’s such a shame because we desperately wanted her to go to the hospice and have her final days where she was going to be looked after and treated with respect. I want to help dispel some of the myths and fears because the hospice would have made such a difference and been a lot better for Ruth.

“I didn’t realise at the time but without Ashgate, I’d have gone away with my grief and who knows how I would have dealt with it.”

Arrow

Please donate today!

£

Your donation matters...

Our services are free of charge to patients and rely on the generosity of our amazing supporters

Arrow

Laura’s Story

“I don’t know where we would have been without Ashgate – it probably would have been a nightmare."

Richard Harrison, 51, from Walton was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October 2014. After having his pancreas removed and being given the all clear, the cancer returned in April 2015 and Richard was told it was terminal.his daughter Laura, shares her story on the care her dad received from Ashgate Hospicecare.

Laura says, “Dad wanted to stay at home so my brother Ross and I were looking after him but it was getting a bit too much for us. My mum and dad had split up so we were the only people who could look after him, so I took 3 months off work whilst Ross kept working. We were so tired so we ended up getting my uncle and auntie to come and stay with us, but other times we would ring them up at 2am saying ‘I don’t know what to do!’ Dad was diabetic because he had his pancreas and spleen taken out so we were trying to get the level of insulin right, but with his tablets as well, it was a lot to take on. He wasn’t willing to do it himself and I don’t like needles so Ross had to do it. But he kept saying ‘I don’t want to inject him in the wrong place’, so we really needed a trained person to do it for us.

“That’s when Judith, the Community Nurse Specialist from Ashgate Hospicecare, started visiting us. Our GP put us in touch with the hospice and after that Judith and one of the Occupational Therapists, Dawn, came to visit us and started helping us out. Dawn got dad a specialist hospice bed and brought rails for the bathroom. At first, dad would say ‘I don’t need any of that’ but one night something clicked and he decided that he wanted to go to the hospice.

“We always knew about Ashgate because my dad was a chef and he did the catering for their ‘Midnight Walk’ event and charity balls for a couple of years. But at first I didn’t want to go to the hospice because I hate hospitals, but when I went I liked it! When we first brought dad in, we had to say ‘It’s only for a couple of days’ but after a few days he said ‘Are they going to make me go home?’ – meaning that he wanted to stay! In the end, he enjoyed being at the hospice more than he did at home!

“Dad felt a lot better when he went to Ashgate because they sorted his medication out and put him on stronger painkillers. The nurses and volunteers were lovely too – they would sit and chat with us and they even sang him ‘Happy Birthday’ on his birthday! The nurses cater to each specific person and will talk and get to know the person. It’s a lot more personal than what we’d have gotten in hospital. Dad definitely had a better quality of life at the hospice and was more settled and relaxed!”

Sadly, Richard died at Ashgate Hospicecare on 11th July 2015, just 2 weeks after he was first admitted.

Laura adds, “I don’t know where we would have been without Ashgate – it probably would have been a nightmare. We couldn’t have done the last few weeks without the hospice which is why we’re fundraising for them as much as we can. A team of our close friends and family recently took part in their ‘Woofs and Wellies’ event and we managed to raise nearly £2,000! We’re going to continue fundraising and have already said we’re going to take part in Woofs and Wellies every year!”

Did you know?

Our amazing nurses cover the North Derbyshire district and they made 2000 home visits last year alone.

Please help us by making a donation...
Arrow

Amy’s Story

Please donate today!

£

Your donation matters...

Last year, our events raised over £200,000 for local people who needed hospice care

Arrow

Karen’s Story

"When you experience the love and care that Ashgate provides, it’s very difficult to turn your back and walk away.”

Julie Colton was admitted to Ashgate Hospicecare in September 2014 as the symptoms from her brain tumour were becoming too difficult to control. She spent the last 4 months of her life on the hospice’s Inpatient Unit before she sadly died on 21st January 2015.

Her sister, Karen Simpson, says “I wanted to share my experience of Ashgate Hospicecare because it became such a big part of my family’s life for such a long time. During those 4 months Julie was on the ward, she made a huge impression on all of the staff with her whit and strength of character. But for us, knowing that she was cared for and that they could control her symptoms gave us the peace of mind we so desperately longed for.

“At Christmas, Julie was determined to come home and spend Christmas Day with the family like we always had. It wasn’t unusual for 20 of us to gather and have Christmas dinner together. However, because Julie was so desperately poorly it was obvious that she wasn’t well enough to return home. So one of the lovely doctors suggested ‘If you can’t go to them then why don’t we bring Christmas to you!’ So that’s what we all did. The day room became our own with family and friends surrounding Julie’s bed. It was incredibly emotional and a very precious memory that will stay with us for a very long time.

“Julie passed away 3 days before my niece Ruby had organised a Winter Walk to raise some much needed funds for the hospice. The walk exceeded everyone’s expectations and the total is still rising. So far we have raised over £13,000 with donations collected from different events all pooled together in Julie’s memory. When you experience the love and care that Ashgate provides, it’s very difficult to turn your back and walk away."

Did you know...

£54 could pay for a patient to attend our Day Hospice

Please donate today
Arrow

Peggy’s Story

“Everybody knows your name too which makes you feel like part of the family"

Peggy Drury, 78, has heart failure, arthritis, diabetes, fluid retention and serious kidney problems. She was referred to Ashgate Hospicecare’s Inpatient Unit to help with her symptom management and has since returned home after the consultants and nursing staff got her symptoms under control. Peggy wanted to share her story so decided to write a letter describing her experience of the hospice.

Peggy says, “When my nurse said she would like me to go to Ashgate Hospice for treatment, I couldn’t believe it! ‘A hospice?’ I said. ‘Me? You must be kidding!’ A hospice, I thought, is where people with cancer go to spend the last few weeks of their life. How wrong could I be! The hospice is nothing like that. People come in for all sorts of reasons.

“On my arrival I was wheeled into the hospice and the lady on reception said ‘Hello Peggy’, which I found very impressive and welcoming. I was then taken to my bay on the ward which was bright and airy. The bay is for three patients but I was lucky enough to have it to myself for a few days. My bed was in the bottom corner of the bay next to two large windows and French doors that open onto a paved patio. I suffer with claustrophobia so I was allowed to sleep with the curtains drawn back at night and have the light on a low glimmer which was great. The nursing staff, or ‘Ashgate Angels’ as I call them, are unbelievable. They’re there to help you get better and aren’t just working for the pay cheque at the end of the month. They’re all very friendly and helpful and nothing is too much trouble for them. They went out of their way to make me feel comfortable and the doctors took a personal interest in my progress which was nice.

“Everybody knows your name too which makes you feel like part of the family. Even the housekeepers knew my name and would always make the effort to stop and have a chat with me. Meal times were always something to look forward to because they are so varied. They make the creamiest porridge in Great Britain and a super cup of tea! The tea trolley in the afternoon is a great idea – there was always lots to choose from. The people that serve you your meals are mostly volunteers and they do a grand job – my hat goes off to them!

“There is the sweetest Chapel at the hospice that has a beautiful stained glass window and a very calm and relaxed feeling when you go in. The Chaplains are lovely guys as well. I’m not religious but that didn’t stop them from having a chat and a laugh when they passed by which was lovely.

“I must admit I’ve had my eyes opened to what a hospice is like, which is nothing like I had imagined. To know such a pleasant and friendly place exists has been an education. It’s such a change in this day and age to see people being so nice to each other. Hats off to you Ashgate – congratulations on a job well done. I will always be grateful to you all.”

Arrow

Please donate today!

£

Your donation matters...

Thank you for your support!

Arrow