To shine a light on the difference hospice care makes to our patients and their families meet Carol…
When Carol met Dawn at school 56 years ago, she knew she’d met someone special. The couple formed a great bond during their school days but lost touch after they left school. Fortunately, they reunited a few years later and became inseparable, enjoying many happy years together before Dawn became unwell in February 2020.
A few months later, Dawn was diagnosed with terminal cancer which turned the couples lives upside down. With the support of St Margaret’s nurses Dawn was able to return home and the couple were able to enjoy the time they had left together and have one last Christmas with their loved ones.
“Dawn wanted to die at home and shortly after her diagnosis I received a call from St Margaret’s to see how they could help and support Dawns wishes,” Carol said. “Sandy, one of the community nurses called to talk to me about supporting Dawn at home. She arranged for Evelyn, another member of the community team, to do an assessment of our bungalow to see what equipment Dawn would need.
“Dawn needed handrails for the shower and the bed and less than a week later, the equipment was set up, it was amazing. The nurses were so supportive. They helped me to get a blue badge for Dawn and told me I could call the Adviceline if I needed anything. It was so comforting to know that there was someone at the end of the phone if we needed it.”
Carol and Dawn
“Everyone was so supportive of Dawns wishes and any time if I wasn’t sure about anything I would call the Adviceline.” Carol said. “It was great to be able to talk to someone no matter the time of day or night.”
“With the support of St Margaret’s and the carers we had a wonderful Christmas, filled with love and laughter,” Carol said. “Dawn did manage to spend time with family, it was a really special time. We knew Dawn didn’t have a lot of time but it just made us determined to make more of it.”
Dawn died peacefully at home in January 2021 with Carol at her side, just like their school days.
“I miss Dawn terribly; life just isn’t the same without her but I do know that the time Dawn had was filled with love and joy because of St Margaret’s support. She got to concentrate on the good things, having fun, seeing family while the team at the hospice helped with medication, comfort and held our hands".
Families being able to look back on the death of a loved one with happy memories should be treasured and at St Margaret’s we help as many families as possible to remember the love and happiness where they can.