ACCORD Hospice has held a special place in my heart come 8 years in October. Not only did they take care of my dad in his final weeks; they also took me and my brother under their wing and cared for me & my dad while I stayed with him for the final week of his life. It was a heart-breaking yet privileged experience.
If there’s such a thing as the perfect death, that was it for me.
My dad passed with dignity & humility, in as normalised an environment as possible. Sadly, my mother-in-law passed the year after. She too was supported by the services and therapies offered. And now my father-in-law benefits from their bereavement support and walking group.
The support for my dad started with physio & doctor visits at home. Once he was admitted, the care, compassion & empathy rose. The voluntary drivers took us to hospital appointments, general staff would spend time with my dad. From those volunteer drivers to the in-patient staff, right through from reception to doctors, to support workers, carers, even hospitality & personal care – all the services supported us professionally & compassionately.
3 weeks in; end of life care began. We visited daily until 6th Dec when my dad asked me not to leave him, so I moved in until he passed on 12th Dec. The staff looked after me that full week. They would sit up with him through the night and encourage me to sleep, they made up a room for my brother, they would field calls & visitors when my dad didn’t feel up to it.
They knew almost exactly when he was going to pass, they prepared him & us, I lay up next to him, and watched him take his last breath. They don’t just see a patient, they see the person, they form a bond no matter how small that may be. That was never more evident than when my dad passed and one of the lovely nurses said, “Now I can shed a wee tear”
We were each offered counselling many times but declined. Then 3 months on, I had my first ever panic attack. I stayed in bed for 3 days. On that 3rd day, I received a letter from the bereavement team. I’ll never forget the timeline – that lifeline for me.
And so, my road to healing began, supported once again by ACCORD Hospice.
So, I continue to support them in return.