Support from CHS adviser “made a huge difference” for mum’s end-of-life care.

Jane Robson describes our individualised care co-ordination work in Southampton

“Mum was diagnosed with secondary liver cancer at the beginning of October. I was hoping to be able to support Mum in her own home, but there was a rapid change in her health. She became confined to her bed and couldn’t walk unaided. My niece, who is a nurse, was very worried about Mum being in her own home and a doctor advised that she ought to go into hospital. That proved to be the right decision as they found she had a raised heart rate and urinary retention.

Discussions moved from having hand rails fitted in her home to applying for Fast Track funding so that Mum could have the support of 24-hour nursing care for her remaining time. When I got a phone call from someone who introduced herself as Ann from CHS Healthcare, I am sure I was quite grumpy. It was an overwhelmingly stressful time and I was used to speaking to so many different health and social care professionals.

Ann calmly explained that we had been given Fast Track funding for Mum and that she would help me through the next steps. I’d already identified a nursing home which had available beds. The next hurdle was that although they had vacancies, their manager had just returned from holiday and said she couldn’t assess Mum for three days.

I knew Mum was really suffering in hospital: she couldn’t sleep properly and there was not enough privacy. They had done all they could for her and she needed to be in a quieter environment with her own room. Ann really went the extra mile for us – she went to the nursing home and spoke to the manager and arranged for another nursing home manager from the same group to assess Mum. I found out later from nursing home staff how tirelessly Ann had worked to arrange this, calling many times.

That made a huge difference. I first spoke to Ann on the Tuesday and by Friday lunchtime, Mum had moved to the nursing home. Without her, we would have been lucky if the hospital based assessment had taken place by the Friday. Ann really pulled out all the stops, helping me through every step of the process. On the day Mum was moving out of hospital, she called me to confirm the ambulance had been booked and everything was going ahead as planned.

Mum was only in the nursing home for four days before she died. Her deterioration was more rapid than we ever imagined but it was so important that she was out of hospital, in the peace and quiet of her own room. Without Ann, Mum could have died in hospital.

Nothing prepares you for this and you feel very on your own as you do your best to get through it. What was so special about Ann was knowing she was always working away for us. She did everything she said she would do and even more and all the time, she kept letting me know what was happening. At a time of great stress for my Mum, myself and my family this level of service was invaluable and I can’t thank Ann enough for all her efforts.”

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