Our local hospice’s holistic approach means the care it provides doesn’t stop with the patient. The Rowans recognises and provides the support needed by carers and loved ones, who are walking alongside patients whilst they are alive and when they have died. Ahead of National Carers Week next week, Pamela Potter from Havant, whose husband Dave was cared for at the Rowans, tells her story.
On February 17, 2018 Dave died peacefully at the Rowans Hospice. He was surrounded by all his family. He was very comfortable and very peaceful. If a death can be good, Dave’s was.
Obviously I didn’t come away happy but I did come away thinking that’s how it should be, that’s exactly how it should be.
Dave was diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer in October 2017. When they told him that there was no more that they could do, he was reeling.
We were referred to the Rowans Hospice. Initially, due to preconceptions of what a hospice would be like, we were hesitant.
However it was not at all what we expected, it really is a wonderful place.
It was on our first visit that we met Dr Matt Curtis, who assessed Dave and made him feel at ease.
His replies to all of Dave’s questions were calm and not frightening. I felt comforted from that moment knowing he was going to be well cared for.
I attended the Carers Group at the Living Well Centre once a month and this was extremely helpful and comforting.
As carers, we are all in the same position, we all feel bad when we get cross because we are tired.
Talking to one another, we all understood each other and we frequently would be saying ‘yes, I know exactly what you mean’.
Through the group you realise you are allowed to feel like that and it doesn’t make you a bad person. It was an amazing group.
Dave died four months later and I was then was referred on to the Bereavement Group at the Living Well Centre.
From that day I have been supported in every way possible by the staff there.
I cannot emphasise enough how supportive the staff have been to me and my family.
You never go in and think ‘oh they’re busy, they haven’t got time for me’. Somebody has always got time for you.
I now feel when I come into the Living Well Centre that I am home and it’s really amazing. You really won’t get a bigger fan than me.
When I felt I couldn’t cope with the grief, I was referred to psychologist Dr Stephanie Jones and have been receiving counselling with her for eight sessions.
In that time I have experienced every emotion possible and she has given me the capability and the tools to put myself in the positive position I find myself today.
I am now living in the ‘here and now’ and able to share my experience with others.
I have benefited from mindfulness, group therapy and, more recently, the cookery classes for the bereaved.
I was reluctant to do cookery, as I have always been happiest putting things in the microwave.
But taking part in the cookery classes has been one of the best things I have done because it has changed my view about everything.
I even shop for ingredients and, more importantly, we all look forward to it.
It isn’t just the cooking, it’s the camaraderie of us all.
When I am ready I would like very much to become a volunteer and give something back to the Rowans.
My journey has been a sad one with lots of peaks and troughs, but a positive ending.
The Rowans has helped to bring me back to life again and given me purpose and a reason to carry on and enjoy life, which is what Dave would have wanted for me.
When I walk through the Living Well doors I feel enveloped with care, compassion and love second to none.
Your support means everything to people like Pamela and Dave. Show your support today by going to www.silverjubilee.rowanshospice.co.uk