"A thank you to those who cared for my dad"

About: General practices in Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS 24 / NHS 24 (111 service) Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow / Acute Receiving Unit Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow / Breathing and lung problems Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow / General medicine Scottish Ambulance Service

(as a service user),

To all of those working and caring during this time,

My father passed away on Saturday 11th April. He was one of many who have, and will continue to be beaten by the Coronavirus.

As unthinkably painful as his death is to all his family and friends, it is possible to find some slight comfort in the knowledge of everyone who helped care for him in his last days. This is a thank you to those people. The country already thanks you all every Thursday at 8pm but on behalf of my father, we would like to thank, individually, everyone that we witnessed genuinely making a difference from the start of this awful experience until its end:

The nurse at the 24 hour Coronavirus assessment unit, who sympathetically received and professionally triaged my father.

The unstoppable force that was my father’s social worker, who has always made it her mission to get things done and to help with good humour and a big heart.

Glasgow’s Golden Generation charity, who delivered us a free food package, donated by a supermarket, whilst we quarantined at home.

The stranger and the neighbour who bought and delivered my dad’s favourite newspaper, giving him some normality in what was a very surreal time.

My father’s GP, who was calm and kind and knew exactly what referral was needed to help us at home.

The local pharmacists, who got to know my father and who did what they could to help us overcome the challenges.

The women who were two of a kind and who, despite everything, pushed all constraints of time, and got my dad the adaptions and supplements he needed to stay at home safely, and maintain his sorely fought independence for just that little bit longer. They showed their compassion and patience in abundance.

The doctor who called back from NHS24 and really listened when we noticed that my father had deteriorated.

The over-worked but professional ambulance team, who kept their calm in the midst of mayhem and fear, and got my dad safely to the hospital.

The mostly invisible acute admission team, that must have worked hard with my father and did everything they could to successfully stabilize him.

The young doctors, who amongst doing critical work, took the time to call us and keep us informed.

The newly qualified nurse in the receiving unit, who gave so much of the very little time she had to my dad. And the army of students, re-distributed staff and health care assistants who supported her.

The young ARU doctor who, at the end of a shift, was kind, spoke honestly and answered all the questions, even the hard ones.

The ARU consultant, who told us the truth but still managed to give hope.

The porters who, despite new and ever-changing pressures, remained gentle and discreet.

The male ward nurse who recognised that time was of the essence in fulfilling my father’s wishes, and who did what he could to prioritise them.

The doctor who stayed with us and cared for my father, whilst he used all of his willpower and fortitude to make his last wishes concrete.

The lawyers firm who moved fast and did everything in their power to make those same wishes a reality.

The ward nurse with the multi-coloured hair clip, and the nightshift third generation nurse who shared with us, and really listened to and cared for my father.

The healthcare assistants who carried out personal care, who gave him his last ever meal and cup of tea. They did what they could to keep his worried family calm and help them to feel grounded in what felt like a surreal hell.

The cleaners who just took the time to smile at us, and who do an incredible job under the circumstances.

The hospital security guards who did their job with kindness and understanding.

The hospital cafe and shop workers who turned up, stayed open, and fed and caffeinated the person who stayed with my dad.

And finally, the palliative care nurse who had the name and calming demeanour of a saint. He really took the time to get to know my dad and used his expertise and skill to make sure my dad felt no pain, no anxiety and no fear as he slipped away from us.

Every one of you mostly invisible people, and many more, still unmentioned, keep working when the rest of the world must hibernate. Every single one of you has a family of your own and yet somehow, every morning you make the decision to overcome your own inevitable fear in this unstable landscape. You leave the safety of your home and go out to help others who are in greater need. Those who are vulnerable, sick, infected, and sometimes, dying.

I hope the world really recognises what a heroic commute to work this is. Every single day.

When Thursday night comes I hope that people clap. I hope they bang pots, play music, even sing and dance. I hope they celebrate your sacrifice as loud as they can. Not because the government tells them to, and even in spite of whatever private thoughts they may have about who is to blame for all of this loss.

Because those who bravely care and show love to others in this world at this time especially, deserve every single decibel of gratitude.

On behalf of my father, thank you all.

Responses

Response from Wendy Quinn, Deputy Regional Director, West Region, Scottish Ambulance Service 2 months ago
Wendy Quinn
Deputy Regional Director, West Region,
Scottish Ambulance Service
Submitted on 27/04/2020 at 16:54
Published on Care Opinion on 29/04/2020 at 09:58


Dear hoc majorum virtus,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write such positive feedback, and also for sharing the story of the kindness shown to your father. I am sure that many people including our staff will feel very proud knowing that they made a difference: if even for just a moment.

I hope that you and your family continue to feel comfort in those memories which have clearly made a significantly positive impact on this very difficult time for you all.

Please accept my condolences on the passing of your father.

Wendy

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Response from Shona Lawrence, Patient Experience Manager, NHS 24 2 months ago
Shona Lawrence
Patient Experience Manager,
NHS 24
Submitted on 27/04/2020 at 17:50
Published on Care Opinion at 17:50


picture of Shona Lawrence

Dear hoc majorum virtus

I am very sorry to learn of the loss of your father. When reading your story, I was humbled by the compassion and empathy shown by those involved in caring for your dad. How kind of you to take the time to thank so many people at what, no doubt, remains an extremely difficult time. From what you have described, each and every person involved in caring for your dad has left an indelible positive mark and sound like an absolute credit to their profession. It's clear you have considered your story very carefully and ensured you have involved a whole range of people who provided care, not only to your father, but to his family when they needed some kindness too. How lovely.

One striking observation I have from reading your story is that your father appears to have been surrounded by people who were doing their best to support him. The ladies who got your dad the equipment required to stay at home for as long as possible to ensure his independence sound fantastic. A real example of person-centred care in action. In fact, person-centred care is threaded throughout your whole story, which is wonderful to see.

I will ensure your story is shared with as many NHS 24 staff as possible. I was struck by your reference to 'invisible' people, as the staff working within our 111 service and on our COVID-19 helpline are doing an amazing job. They are working tirelessly at this time, like all healthcare staff and key workers, so it is great for us to be considered when people are kind enough to provide thanks.

The name you have chosen when tagging your story has not escaped me either. What an appropriate Latin motto and how accurately this reflects what you have written.

I wish you, and your family, strength to come to terms with your sad loss. Thank you so much for your kind words.

With best wishes to you all.

Shona

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Update posted by hoc majorum virtus (a service user)

Thank you Shona.

The more this is shared, the increased chance that the individuals who are mentioned will recieve the thanks they deserve. It's what my father would have wanted.

Take care.

Response from Fiona Gay, General Manager, Medicine and Medical Specialities, NHSGGC 2 months ago
Fiona Gay
General Manager, Medicine and Medical Specialities,
NHSGGC
Submitted on 28/04/2020 at 08:37
Published on Care Opinion on 29/04/2020 at 12:00


Dear hoc majorum virtus,

I am so sorry to read of the loss of your father and am deeply touched that you have taken time to thank so many people, personally. I was heartwarmed to read that in such a difficult time, your father and his family were treated with such compassion and empathy. I do hope that this helped make such a difficult and sad time that little bit easier for you.

I was incredibly moved reading the account of your father's care and the kindness he was afforded, not only from the clinical teams caring for him, but from everyone he came in to contact with that smiled and showed understanding.

Thank you for sharing your story, which so powerfully demonstrates how important a role everyone in the NHS plays in caring with kindness. I will share this widely with all staff in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and ensure they recognise the difference they are making.

Warm Wishes

Fiona

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