Emily - Granny's story

Granny was worried about coming into Dove House, she had COPD and Emphysema and was referred to the hospice in March 2019. She agreed to go to the Day Unit and soon loved it. By October she was admitted into the Inpatient Unit for symptom control, but having been to the Day Unit she wasn’t as apprehensive about going in. It was much easier to see her in the hospice rather than the hospital. I could even take my then one-year-old with me. He loved the playroom so much, it made it so much easier for me to be there for her.
By December she was in a lot of pain, the doctors told us it was near the end. Granny had initially talked of dying at home but she knew it would be too hard on my grandad as he would still have to live there after she had gone so she made it very clear that instead, she wanted to be at Dove House. As odd as it sounds it didn’t feel like she was going there to die. They still did a care plan for her, made her feel comfortable, and settled us all in. The doctors and nurses kept us in the loop at all times and still allowed us to make decisions for her as we knew what she wanted. Granny was a fighter, she fought to the end until I heard my mum say to her one day as we were leaving ‘It’s ok now Mum, you can go’. The nurses told us quite often patients hold on until you let them go or they wait until you have gone home. She died later that night, she was finally at peace‚Äč.

Emily - Grandad's story

Not long after my Granny died my grandad became ill and was diagnosed with heart failure. One day when he was at the hospice for the breathing group they noticed he was struggling more than normal to breathe. The doctor spoke with Grandad and they decided he would be admitted for symptom control. At the time we were mid-Covid and it was a real concern to my grandad as it was for so many others.

Being able to safely visit him was such a relief as he was actually at the hospice for quite a while. We are a very close family and the bond my grandad had with my son Zakary was just the sweetest. Bringing Zakary in to see Grandad was amazing, one lovely day we wheeled Grandad out into the garden so Zakary was able to run around and be free. We looked at the beautiful fish and spent time together as a family like we would have if he had been at home.

It was the last time Zakary saw Grandad and I am so glad it was a happy moment at Dove House.
Being at the hospice the second time with Grandad was obviously different because of the Covid restrictions but the care was the same. The gentleness and love you feel in the building is still there. You are greeted when you arrive at the hospice and that instantly made us feel at ease. I cannot thank them enough for always knowing what we needed and making us feel comfortable no matter what emotion we were feeling. Grandad was able to be in a cuddle bed which was incredible, it allowed my mum to sit on the bed with him and be close. He was able to bring in a picture of my Granny to have by his bedside and keep his favourite ice lollies in the fridge. He wasn’t eating much so it was nice for him to have something he loved. Moments like that are so important and as we look back they are some of the memories we cherish the most.
At Dove House you are not just treated like a patient, you are looked after as a whole family and we were included every step of the way, every decision was made with us for both Granny and Grandad.

The Family Support Team have helped us, especially my mum, with both of our experiences of the hospice – the first time around they helped Mum grieve properly when she was struggling and this time they were there every day when Grandad was at the hospice, they still continue to support Mum now too.

I am still amazed at all of the different departments it takes to keep a hospice going. Because my granny died so quickly we didn’t really see it but this time around we saw a lot more of what Dove House can offer.
We have since joined up to the lottery and my whole family wants to do as many events to raise money as we can. We can never repay what Dove House did for our family, but we will try our best to support them like they did us when we needed it.