Small acts of compassion make such a huge difference

My Dad recently passed away on Ridgeway Ward. He had been in Chesterfield Royal for 4 weeks after losing his swallow function due to a stroke. Throughout his time on the ward, his care was exceptional and thorough. They tried everything they could to treat his condition including giving him physio on his throat and feeding him through a tube directly into his stomach.

He responded to antibiotics after his first chest infection. Unfortunately his throat was very open and saliva getting on to his chest meant he got into a vicious circle of constant chest infections. Ultimately he couldn’t recover from this.

Discussions with family about decisions about do not resuscitate and the end of life care pathway were handled thoughtfully and sensitively by all staff involved. They put Dad in a side room and put another bed in there so Mum got to spend his last 6 nights with him. The staff were hugely attentive to Mum and made sure she had constant cups of tea and coffee and meals. She wasn’t very hungry one morning and only wanted a banana so they rang around to find one for her. The very next morning they remembered this and made sure one was available for her. Another morning, they asked her what she wanted and she joked she wanted a full English breakfast and a staff member who is apparently well known on the ward for her resourcefulness immediately came back with one for her.

During such a trying time, my Mum did manage to cause hilarity on the ward. She was popping home one morning and absentmindedly was trying to leave the ward with her slippers on. A staff member witnessed this and thought she was a patient trying to escape. They took her to one side and asked her what she was doing. She said “I’m going home” and a doctor later told her she had made her laugh for being arrested as an absconding patient!

We have to make special mention of a staff member at Cafe Royal at the rear entrance of the hospital. She was a middle aged lady with dark hair. We were going for a coffee whilst they gave dad a wash. She saw from our indecision at the counter how upset we were and she couldn’t have been more compassionate. She came up and offered to put food aside for our lunch and she even gave us some cake to cheer us up. We saw her the next day and she said hello and said she was glad to see us again as she knew that meant Dad was still with us. Finally just after Dad died, we were leaving the hospital for the last time and she was on duty again. She gave Mum a hug and consoled her that Dad hadn’t left her and told all she needed to do was throw a pebble in water and see the ripple and that was a sign he was there. Some people say that angels are the people you meet in life who show you random acts of kindness. This lady is indeed a true angel.

When Dad died, he was surrounded by his wife and children. His passing was very peaceful and pain free. This is due to the fantastic efforts of Mr Naylor, Emily and other doctors and all the wonderful nursing staff and care assistants on Ridgeway Ward. They are all a credit to their profession and their kindness and compassion made a horrendously sad time easier to endure. Thank you so much for everything you did for Dad.


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