“Dad was comfortable and he was happy Mum, and the whole family, had the hospice for support,” said Kerrie-Ann French, whose Dad, John French (pictured second from left), received support from the St Elizabeth East Coast Hospice and East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH) healthcare partnership, until his death aged 59-years-old in 2022.
Since launching in April 2019, more than 4,750 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.
A family face to many in Bradwell and the local community, John French was the Construction Manager at Lowestoft College for many years, he had a passion for golf and motorbikes, while enjoying spending lots of time with his family, which included two daughters, one son and four grandchildren.
John was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May 2021, shortly after this he was recommended the support of St Elizabeth East Coast Hospice and ECCH.
Katrina, John’s wife, said: “John was keen to be supported at home and the hospice enabled him to achieve this before he passed away at the hospital.
“They would regularly visit us to provide advice, help with medication and help make John comfortable, for example they provided a more supportive bed and chair to help John at home.
“We felt reassured under their guidance and as well as checking in on John, they also asked about us as a family and how we were. Their support network, especially their 24/7 phone line OneCall, was brilliant and there were times when we would call at 2am in the morning and the hospice would be there for us to help John during times of great discomfort for him.”
Katrina added: “As a family we had never experienced hospice care before, and when the hospital said we should contact the hospice, we assumed this would be purely end-of-life care, but they really provide so much more support than this, to both the patient and their wider family.
“I have accessed their therapy and counselling services and John often said ‘I am so glad the hospice have helped us’, the St Elizabeth East Coast Hospice made a difference to our family, during a difficult time.
“You never know when you may need support from the amazing St Elizabeth East Coast Hospice team, but they are there for you and your loved ones when care matters most. They are just brilliant and their compassionate care and knowledgeable staff provide great calm and support.”
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.