“Mum was very keen to stay at home and St Elizabeth East Coast Hospice helped her achieve this,” said Helen Smith, whose Mum, Jackie Rope, received support from the St Elizabeth East Coast Hospice and East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH) healthcare partnership, before her death aged 73-years-old in July 2023.
Since launching in April 2019, more than 3,900 patients and their families in Great Yarmouth and Waveney have been supported by the free specialist palliative care provided by the joint partnership of St Elizabeth East Coast Hospice and ECCH.
Typically living with conditions such as cancer, heart failure, chronic lung diseases – such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – and neurological disorders, these patients have received free care through the partnership’s varied, specialist palliative care provision available at Beccles Hospital, in the community and through the service’s 24-hour advice line, OneCall.
“Mum had been poorly for two or three years, but became increasingly unwell just before Christmas 2022, with her breathing, in particular, becoming more difficult,” explained Helen, who is from near Gorleston.
“Come May and early June of 2023, her pain was far greater and she had a few admissions to hospital. During this time she also had a scan which revealed metastatic disease on her spine, as well as a growth on her lung.
“It was at this point the hospital advised us of the services provided by St Elizabeth East Coast Hospice. Right from the moment we contacted the hospice, we felt their care was exactly what we had been looking for and needed as a family.
“They arranged for St Elizabeth East Coast Hospice paramedic, Ross, to visit Mum and our family at her home. He really changed everything for us, bringing a calming and reassurance presence, during a very uncertain time.
“He treated us all as individuals, which meant a lot. I am a healthcare worker, but Ross made it clear my role was to be my Mum’s daughter and not her nurse or carer. Ross and the hospice team were always there for us to call if we needed further support and helped us understand what was going on in a very kind and compassionate way.
“Her wish was to remain at home with her family and they ensured she was as comfortable as possible and we were able to achieve this for her.
“With St Elizabeth East Coast Hospice’s support we were also able to give Mum the opportunity to express her desires and prioritise what she wanted, including how she wanted her funeral held, which meant so much to us as we were able to have some control of the situation and ensure Mum’s wishes were met.
“The biggest difference St Elizabeth East Coast Hospice’s care made to us, was the way their services empowered our family, giving us confidence to approach the situation. There is nothing more we could have asked of them and I really would recommend getting in contact with the team as they can help you and your loved one, with their tailored care, which makes a stressful time a little easier.
“They provide brilliant, practical compassionate support, treating you as a human and I can only say ‘thank you’ to them.
“We miss Mum no end, but my sisters, Step-Dad, Ian, and I take comfort from the fact Mum received the care she wanted, with our family making decisions together, thanks to St Elizabeth East Coast Hospice.”
For more information about the partnership’s services in Great Yarmouth and Waveney visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/how-we-can-help/hospice-care/great-yarmouth_and-waveney.
To learn more about the Community Care Unit service visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/how-we-can-help/hospice-care/community-care-unit/.
To contact the 24-hour specialist palliative care advice line, OneCall, call 0800 567 0111.