"Thank You from the bottom of my heart for everything"

About: Biggart Hospital / Care of the Elderly Medicine

(as the patient),

I am a 93 year old who has always led an independent and active life so it was a massive change to me when I recently broke my leg and lost some of that independence.

I was transferred to Lindsay Ward at the Biggart for my rehab and there begun my journey of excellent care, compassion and above all respect from the staff at the Biggart.

I say staff for all has been equally part of my journey from the domestic who mops the floor to the consultant in charge of my care and of course the managers who must have agreed to the path of my journey.

My 90 year old wife of 69 years had end stage dementia and was a resident in a local nursing home. It broke my heart to not be able to go see her as she was upstairs in the home and the lift was broken but the nurses happily spoke to the staff in the home for updates.

My two daughters live in Australia and despite the ward being busy and the staff being run off their feet it was never too much trouble for them to stop and alleviate any concerns they had over the phone or just update them on my progress.

As I got stronger and almost seeing the light of discharge I was gently woken one night and told my wife was very poorly and had been transferred to Ayr Hospital.

One of the auxiliary nurses kindly took me across to Ayr Hospital to be with her and sat with me all night at her bedside offering me support and ensuring I was OK.

We were in a side room and the next day the SCN from Lindsay Ward came to see me and explained my care was being transferred back to Ayr staff so I could remain with my wife and a second bed would be put in the room where we could be nursed together.

A few days later my wife and myself were transferred as a pair back to Lindsay Ward where they had created a “double room” for us and we were welcomed back as if part of their family.

The care for my wife was excellent and was evidenced by the fact she never once looked like she was in any distress or discomfort and although she was very thin and frail her skin was perfect.

Most comforting to me was the fact that at night they pushed our beds together to create a double and I was able every night to lay holding her in my arms and reassure her I was there something I had not been able to do for some time since she entered the nursing home.

But it was not only the care for my wife that was at the forefront of the staff’s mind and they would offer to sit with or keep an eye on her and encouraged me to take time away from her bedside even if it was just to go eat a meal in the day room.

My wife’s condition was deteriorating and my daughters arrived just in time for us both to be transferred to Drummond Ward still at the Biggart.

It was difficult for us to leave the staff that not only had I built a relationship with but that I trusted with my now terminally ill wife’s care.

This was made so much easier for me though by the SCN from the other ward visiting and explaining things to us starting to build his relationship with us and of course by him also creating a “double room” for use by us and also now my daughters who were sitting with us most of the time.

Once there the excellent care and compassion continued and we quickly came to trust these new faces to us too.

Sadly my wife passed away but we were all by her side and her passing was made easier in the knowledge that she did not suffer and due to the excellent care of staff at the Biggart Hospital it was as stress free as it possibly could have been.

I will be eternally grateful for the care we all received for in the end the staff did not only care for my wife and me they cared also for my daughters.

Most of all I am grateful for the opportunity to have spent the last nights of her life with her in my arms as we had done for oh so many years prior to her leaving for the nursing home.

The support did not end with my wife’s passing for to my heartfelt surprise the SCN’s also attended my wife’s funeral and the nursing staff are now continuing to support me through my grief still as a patient in Drummond Ward.

Thank You from the bottom of my heart for everything.

Responses

Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

picture of Eunice Goodwin

Dear Lottie21,

These words will seem inadequate but please accept my sincerest condolences for the loss of your wife of 69 years. This must have been such a heart-breaking time for you but made easier by the exemplary care you and your wife received.

Your story highlights some of the difficulties that can be experienced by a couple in their advancing years (if I can use such a term). It also shows what the staff managed to achieve for both you and your wife, which is outstanding. I am humbled and honoured to respond to you, and to make sure your sentiments and thanks are shared with the teams involved.

I can't thank you enough for taking the time to write this truly amazing story. I wish you a full recovery to get back to your independence.

Kindest wishes,

Eunice

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