"It was all too 'matter of fact'"

About: Stepping Hill Hospital / Older people's healthcare

(as a relative),

My dad was generally feeling unwell and was admitted to Stepping Hill on towards the end of March. After been in the general assessment ward from 7pm until nearly 1 in the morning, he was transferred to ward A15.

He was in good spirits and we weren’t too concerned, as he did suffer from COPD and had been down this route of having a chest infection before, some 2 years ago.

The usual things happened, blood tests, xrays to name but a few but within the next few days my dad’s mood changed. He called me from his mobile to say that the doctor had been round to inform my dad that it may be something serious i.e. cancer, and that due to his age (88) they did say that they wouldn’t consider reviving him should his heart fail!

In the same meeting the doctor also stated that the type of cancer he had did react well to chemo, so there was still hope.

Over the next few days, my dad looked lost; he stated that perhaps his life wasn’t worthy of saving, so you can imagine the heart break felt by me and my family.

So days passed in a blur. The news was bad; it was cancer, small cell lung and due to my dad’s age and state of health, it was decided to place him on the Liverpool Pathway for the dying.

Just after the doctor left us after the bad news, along came the specialist nurse offering her help? It was hard to take in, my dad’s life was ebbing away right in front of my eyes, we didn’t expect this outcome and we were both n total shock. Time should have been given to us in privacy, to take in the words from the doctor and not to be met with the nurse offering her advice, on hospice care, not right there and then.

It doesn’t help also that these wards don’t really offer any privacy. On that day quite a few people were being told news of a similar nature, we were all lost in our own world but everyone eyes were upon us. This could and can be avoided.

Even though we knew he had cancer, nobody was able to tell us how much time, other than he's very poorly.

My dad had built a bond with some of the nurses; he was registered blind though he had a little vision, so he knew the nurses by their voices. These nurses were saints, not only to my dad but also to me, we had favorites and we both made sure we told them so.

Anyway the doctors did decide to put my dad on the Liverpool Pathway for the dying. I got a call from the hospital to tell me the doctors needed to have a word so I went to the hospital to be met with this news, that they had in fact already spoke with my dad about this and he had agreed!

The specialist nurse again visited my dad, trying to insist that she felt it wasn't the ideal place to end his final days. A lot of things happened, when on reflection I didn’t agree with.

Why did a nurse empty my dad’s medical cabinet of his drugs, whilst he looked on, the look on his face I will never forget. Surely this could have been done whist he was sleeping?

Why was he told that his cancer was treatable, when it became clear it wasn't?

Why did the doctors seek permission from my dad for Pathway when clearly he wasn't really up for making such decisions, as he was confused? This should have been discussed with me in attendance.

Apart from our favorite nurses, it was all too much matter of fact and in reflection I'm not happy at a lot of things that went on. In general, I know the nurses work hard, some above others, those favorite nurses were my rock, they helped me more than they know.

But in general, it was all a matter of fact, in particular the specialist nurse. I would have appreciated her to have come across with more sincerity and warmth than that she had shown not only to me but others, who I know their families were of the same opinion.

Sadly my father passed away at the beginning of April, a total shock to me and my family, I miss him terribly.

It wasn’t an ending that my dad would have wanted (who does?) but luckily I was able to spend as much time with him as I could, I was lucky that I was able to tell him how much I will miss him and how much he was loved.

But unfortunately I'm left with memories of why, if and but. Not helped by the matter of factness of it all.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››