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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Ulverston hospice staff helped grant ill dad’s dying wish

A TEAM of staff and volunteers at St Mary’s Hospice give patients with life-limiting conditions a say in the type of end of life care they receive. Today PAUL BERENTZEN talks to Broughton mum-of-two Liz Tyson about how staff helped her cope when she was told her husband was going to die

END of life care at St Mary’s Hospice continues long after a patient dies.

Three years after losing her husband to bowel cancer, Broughton mum Liz Tyson is still in regular contact with the hospice staff who cared for him in their home.

The staff say a major part of their job is to provide support to a patient’s loved ones — and that does not change when they die.

Ms Tyson, now 48, lost her husband Alex to an aggressive form of cancer in November 2009.

After battling the disease for a little over two years he died with her at his side.

But despite the sadness of losing her husband and being left to care for two young children – her son was just three months old when his father died – Ms Tyson has nothing but positive words for the Hospice at Home staff who helped grant his dying wish.

She said: “It was Alex’s wish to be cared for at home. Had it not been for the Hospice at Home team he would have had to have gone to the hospice.

“Allowing the patient to be at home, and the support, made it a lot easier for me, having two young children. They came to the house seven days a week.”

Despite the distance involved, staff would visit the house twice a day towards the end.

“I was out in the sticks,” she said. “It wasn’t an easy place to come to but nothing held them back. Come hell or high water they were there.”

And from the moment they entered her house, she said staff knew exactly what to do to make the process as easy as possible for the whole family.

Ms Tyson said: “When Alex was diagnosed as being terminally ill he wanted to go home and I asked: ‘How on earth am I going to arrange this?’

“But when I got home, downstairs looked like a hospice room. Everything was set up and it was a huge relief to walk in and all the kit was there. That was fantastic.”

And in the two weeks the staff spent caring for her husband, Ms Tyson said they formed a real bond.

“They became part of the family,” she added. “You do rely on them terribly, especially in the latter days. Nothing seems to drag them down — you never see them downbeat.

“They became my friends and still are. They are so warm and that means the world.”

She still visits the hospice and the staff will ask how she and her children Ted, three, and Abi, nine, are getting on.

And often it is the apparently little things that can make the most difference to a grieving relative. Ms Tyson remembers well how the staff gave her the chance to bathe her husband moments after he died.

She said: “To be offered something so simple as washing his hands and face, to be allowed to do that, was huge for me — it is another process of closure.

“The girls came back and said ‘Have you got a favourite T-shirt you want to put him in? Do you want to wash his hands and face?’ It was lovely to have that.”

Looking back now on that difficult period in her life, Ms Tyson is able to take comfort from positives and the life-changing friendships she has formed.

“I was there at the very end to care for him and that would not have been possible without the girls,” she said. “I can’t sing their praises highly enough.”

Without having the means to get out to patients in remote locations, the hospice would be unable to provide this vital service.

  • To support the Reaching Out campaign and help replace the vehicles used every day to help people like the Tyson family, visit www.justgiving.com/reaching-out.

ARTICLE ARCHIVE:

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Therapist's Ulverston hospice plea

Ailing van threatens Ulverston charity delivery work

Ulverston hospice vehicles ‘vital to patients and carers’

Have your say

What a strong woman and mom! Being a single mom and only parent is not easy and what a great attitude she has about the challenges she endured. Kuddos to her! There is a children's book that her kids may want to read called, My Daddy Is In Heaven With Jesus. A comforting book from the child's perspective of losing her dad with a positive outlook on life. http://amzn.to/TFVW57

Posted by Lynn on 14 February 2013 at 20:56

What a strong woman and mom! Being a single mom and only parent is not easy and what a great attitude she has about the challenges she endured. Kuddos to her! There is a children's book that her kids may want to read called, My Daddy Is In Heaven With Jesus. A comforting book from the child's perspective of losing her dad with a positive outlook on life. http://amzn.to/TFVW57

Posted by Lynn on 14 February 2013 at 15:27

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