Dying Matters Week: Chandrika’s story
During Dying Matters Week we are featuring stories from some of our patients and their families. Today’s theme is ‘diversity and inclusion at end of life’ and we bring you Chandrika’s story.
Chandrika Pandit was diagnosed in 2014 with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), a rare, progressive illness that involves degeneration of the motor neurons and muscle wasting.
She started coming to Day Therapy in 2017 where staff worked with her to manage her symptoms, and worked with speech and language therapists using eye gaze technology to help her communicate her choices. Chandrika later received care from Hospice at Home nurses at her Wollaton home where she lived with her husband.
Chandrika’s daughter Pooja Raval said: “It really helped my dad having nurses coming to the house once a week. It is very tough caring for someone towards the end of their life and having the nurses come really helped my dad.
“Mum really enjoyed coming to the hospice for Day Therapy. She said the general care was very good. She liked the games they played and enjoyed having massages.”
Chandrika practised the Hare Krishna religion and her faith was clearly important to her. She brought her japa mala prayer beads with her to the hospice and when she had lost the ability to speak, found comfort from holding the beads and praying the mantra.
Chandrika was no stranger to MND, having supported her own mother and brother who also had the condition.
“Motor Neurone Disease is a very cruel illness but my mum was a very positive person and she stayed positive even after her diagnosis. Her faith helped her cope,” Pooja added.
“It’s very important to be aware of diversity especially at end of life. It is important that people across different backgrounds and faiths should know about the hospice and be able to access the services available.”
Chandrika died at home peacefully, aged 62. She had a Hindu funeral and cremation.
Jo Polkey, Director of Care at Nottinghamshire Hospice, said: “Chandrika bought happiness to the unit – you couldn’t help being overwhelmed by her smile. We will miss her.”