Stories from the Heart – Shelley

WSBH Hospice Heart Element - PurpleA testimonial about On the Ward from a relative.

Shelley’s father Lionel (Danny to friends) spent his last few days at Sam Beare Hospice.

Her beautifully written testimonial is a true ‘story from the heart’ and portrays perfectly just how much our inpatient care can help a family when they are in need. It has been posted up just as it was received by Marketing, unedited and whole. 

“In September 2014 I accompanied my wonderful, sprightly 83 year old dad to St Peters Hospital in Chertsey for the results of his 6 monthly CT scan only for us to be given the grim news that his cancer had returned for a fourth time, but this time no treatment could be offered.  As you can imagine we were devastated and tears were shed, many from me which continued as we walked out to the car park.  Dad assured me he was not afraid of dying, just so sad to be leaving me, his only child.  In fact he said he was rather excited as he believed that when he passed away, he would be starting his ‘next big adventure’.

Dad was referred to Sam Beare Hospice in Weybridge to the community care team.  For many months we had telephone contact with community nurse Vicky Brown, as we felt a home visit was not yet required .  Mid February 2015 Vicky made a home visit to put faces to the names and voices she had spoken to on the phone and to see how we were were getting on.  My dad’s wife was unwell with dementia and we had all been coping with her at home, but that first home visit, Vicky saw things that we had become accustomed to dealing with and she contacted Social Services to get an assessment and the support that my step-mother now required.  Vicky’s first visit to dad turned into a marathon home visit sorting out other things for us which took her about three hours. She was so patient with my step-mum. Vicky came back later in the week to have a proper chat with dad and see how things were with his health.  From that very first visit, we just ‘clicked’ with Vicky and felt totally at ease. Over the coming months we built a good relationship with Vicky and other members of the hospice team. Lisa, the secretary, was so helpful. I always felt confident that whatever our problem was, if I left it with her she would contact the correct person in the team who would contact me as soon as they they were available.

Over the months as dad’s health deteriorated and I had to abandon my husband in Hampshire and moved in to look after dad.  Jean, his wife, my step-mum was  by now was in a care home having greatly deteriorated over a short time. This was to be a very special four months, just dad and I at home.  I had various contact numbers for staff at Sam Beare and no matter who I spoke to they were caring, listened and supported us.  We felt totally confident that whatever problems we encountered they would be able to help. We had an OT (Occupational Therapist) assessment of the bungalow with Sue and when dad went into respite for medicine management at Woking, Poppy the OT there arranged for us to have on loan, a recliner chair and eventually dad was to have a hospital bed at home.

Sadly dad’s health got to the stage that I could no longer nurse him at home and after a tearful phone call to community nurse Gail, she gently suggested that dad came into Sam Beare as there was a bed available.  Through my tears I agreed.  So dad went into Sam Beare the following day for end of life care.  I was distraught that I could no longer care for him at home.  Riddled  with guilt that I had let him down as he wanted to end his days at home. I spend the first day wandering out of his room to have a cry. I didn’t want dad to see how upset I was.  Staff were amazing.  Reassuring me that I had done the correct thing, that I could now become his daughter again and not be his carer, they would be doing the caring now.   Oh, how right they were.  After a good nights sleep, things seemed brighter. There was a recliner by dad’s bed, which I slept on for the two weeks he was In Sam Beare.  Staff were so attentive, kind and caring.  Nothing was too much trouble.  We were in an oasis of calm and felt safe and cared for. I was a daughter again. Dad and I chatted and laughed. Slowly he became sleepier, and staff would quietly come into his room and look after him. Massage his arms and legs with cream, moisten his mouth and of course check his syringe driver was topped up and working.  On dad’s 15th day in Sam Beare, at 1.40am he gently passed away in his sleep, he had now started his ‘next big adventure’.

Words  cannot express how wonderful those last two weeks of his life were and how grateful I am to all of the staff involved in dad’s care both in the community and in Sam Beare.  Wonderful care for the final two weeks of my wonderful dad’s life, also know as Danny to friends and family.  Love and miss him so much, but the memories of Sam Beare Hospice and all the staff both in the community and on the ward will stay with me forever and I actually find those memories a comfort.  I cannot thank you all enough for all your constant care and support while we were at home and on the ward.”

With thanks to Shelly for her story and the photo of her father with his twin great-grandchildren Danny and Leah.

If you have a testimonial you would like to share please get in touch by emailing We would love to read your words, or if you prefer, we will be more than happy to meet with you and hear your story so that we can put it into words for sharing.

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