“Hospice care is far better than I expected. I’ve got to know the staff and volunteers really well and I’d like to say a big thank you to all of them.”

My wife Karen was first diagnosed with cancer of the kidney nearly 5 years ago, she had the kidney removed but then cancer came back, this time it was in her spine and she had to have major spinal surgery.

Following the surgery Karen had to visit her consultant at the hospital once a week, because she was still recovering from the operation, feeling tired and delirious she was forgetting to take her tablets and the pain became unbearable. Karen’s consultant referred her to the hospice for symptom management.

I was wary of accessing hospice care, I thought hospices were a place people went to die. Karen however felt relaxed about coming to the Hospice. After a week or so, Karen’s pain was under control and she was able to go home.

Unfortunately in the weeks that followed she developed a bad chest infection which caused a number of complications and had to be admitted into hospital. Karen had a scan and they found 3 tumours on her brain. Two days before Christmas, we were told she only had 2 or 3 days to live – this news was devastating. Once again we were transferred to the hospice in-patient unit.

We have a big family and over Christmas everyone came to the hospice at all hours to visit Karen. Our grandchildren opened all their Christmas presents in Karen’s room. This wouldn’t have been possible if she had stayed in hospital.

A dramatic U-turn occurred – whilst at the hospice Karen was given steroids which have reduced the swelling in the brain and her condition began to improve and she is now undergoing a 2 week course of intensive radiotherapy at Preston Hospital to shrink the tumours – the treatment is gruelling.

We are hoping that Karen will be able to go home at the end of next week. I’ve stopped working so I can be her full time carer. Over the next few days we’ll be putting a care plan together and we’ll most likely continue to access hospice care albeit a different service. I have no experience how the social care system works so the nurses have arranged a meeting with a social worker for me to ensure I am aware of all the support available.

Hospice care is far better than I expected. Every single day Karen has been cared for here, I have stayed too – I’ve been home once a week to do some washing, that’s it! Needless to say I’ve got to know the staff and volunteers really well and I’d like to say a big thank you to all of them.