Personalised service for fast track patients in Bristol

Melvin Clark’s elderly mother was diagnosed with cancer and needed Fast Track care. He describes the family’s experience and why specialist support in finding care was essential.

“Mum has always been very independent and at the age of 94, was still living in her own home. She was coping well, with support from my wife and I, together with home adaptions. But in recent months, her health suddenly deteriorated. She was in a lot of pain and was sick; a GP saw her and advised we should go straight to hospital.

Mum had a CT scan and we were told she had pancreatic cancer. The cancer had spread to her liver and we were warned that she only had about three weeks left to live. Of course, with Mum being in her nineties, we knew her health would eventually fade, but we weren’t prepared for how quickly everything happened. Mum is very with it, fully aware of how poorly she is and what was happening.

Mum was in Southmead Hospital, Bristol and we will always be grateful for the compassion and care she received. They made Mum pain free and were very attentive to all her needs. She was in hospital for a week and once her pain was under control, she needed to move out of hospital; there was nothing more they could do for her and she needed a quieter environment.

At that point, I was contacted by Amanda from CHS Healthcare. I felt, straight away, that Amanda was a very caring person and I appreciated her knowledge of local care homes. We were also very impressed that Amanda had taken the time to visit Mum during her stay at Southmead Hospital. Amanda suggested a nursing home which was a 15 minute drive from where we live. She suggested we met there to view it and see whether it might be suitable for Mum.

There was one room that was particularly nice and I was impressed by the environment and the way the people living there were cared for. We decided it was the right place for Mum and were able to move some of her favourite ornaments and items into her room before she arrived the following day. She was really overwhelmed to see familiar things and was happy and comfortable from the start.

Mum has always loved her own home and the idea of finding a care home was something we have always dreaded. But a few days after settling into the nursing home, she told me – “I’m not bothered about home. People are so kind here – I’m very comfortable and happy.” Mum was able to confirm this when Amanda again visited her at the nursing home.

It made a huge difference having the support of Amanda – even though we live close to Mum’s nursing home, we hadn’t heard of it. You don’t have any experience of choosing care homes until you face this situation and you feel completed unprepared for it. You hear some worrying things about some care homes, so expert help from someone like Amanda is very reassuring. Mum’s nursing home could not be better.

Everything happened in a whirlwind three weeks but we have had tremendous care and support every step of the way. My wife and I are very comforted knowing that for Mum’s last weeks, she is in a place where she was instantly happy, well cared for and free from pain.”

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