24th April 2020
Hospice brings Bruce home from hospital for final days
“In these extraordinary times your constant presence was truly a gift. It gave Daddy a peaceful and contented death. He knew he was home.”
A Nottinghamshire woman has praised the care Nottinghamshire Hospice provided during her father’s Illness, enabling him to be discharged from hospital during lockdown and die peacefully at home.
Bruce Melvyn Osborne, 75, of Gotham, Nottinghamshire, was diagnosed with prostrate cancer three years ago but also had diabetes, COPD and fibrosis. Although the cancer was successfully treated at the time his health deteriorated recently and earlier this year a scan revealed a growth on his lung.
He was taken into Glenfield Hospital in late February with very low blood sugar and blood pressure as well as major fluid retention. In hospital he was treated for pneumonia but tested negative for Covid-19. Family members stayed with him at the hospital for 25 days right until lockdown was announced in March, after which they were not allowed to visit.
He was on a ward with no telephone access so contact was patchy, until his granddaughter Samantha sourced a phone and ipad for him. A short time later the family were told he would not recover and advised to prepare for end of life.
Bruce desperately wanted to be at home, but the family were told this was problematic as he would require care to support his wife at home.
Bruce’s daughter Justine Tomlinson – herself an Admiral nurse who now works for Dementia UK charity, remembered about the hospice and home service, and phoned on spec. At that point Nottinghamshire Hospice got involved, enabling a swift discharge from hospital.
Justine said: “It was always his wish to be at home and it couldn’t happen quick enough, but things dragged out over several days as there was no care package in place. Mum was very distressed and we were all worried he’d catch Covid-19 and have to die in hospital alone.
“I remembered Hospice at Home nurses working with a family from when was an Admiral nurse in 2016. I made a random call to the hospice and was offered dedicated support. This had an immediate impact and the ward booked an ambulance for Daddy to come home.”
Hospice at Home and Hospice Night Support care was put in place, enabling Bruce to stay at home – where he died six days later – and supporting his wife Jacquie and other family members.
“The nursing team who came out were wonderful human beings and I will never forget their kindness to my mum,” added Justine. “They ensured she kept hydrated, made sure she ate, and had the opportunity to get some rest. Mum was genuinely not expecting Daddy to die so quickly or prepared for what was to come, so your team helped her get her head around the severity of the quickly deteriorating situation.”
Justine, who also lives in Gotham, was shielding due to her asthma, so was not able to be at home with her father, but the Hospice at Home team kept in regular touch with her and other family members. They phoned the night before Bruce died so that Justine could speak to her dad, then on the day he died when they realised the end was near, they phoned again and sorted out PPE for her so she could come and say goodbye.
“Thank you to Hannah, the nurse who put the phone to Daddy’s ear so I could speak to him one last time, and to Donna for calling me so promptly and supplying me with PPE so I could say goodbye before he died. Then she stayed with mum and sorted everything out.
“If it hadn’t have been for the team from the hospice my mum would’ve been terrified. Dad was occasionally very frightened and agitated and mum would not have known what to do. Your team were there at the right time, the whole time, night and day.
“In these extraordinary times your constant presence was truly a gift and our small family are truly grateful. It gave him a peaceful and contented death. He knew he was home.”
Bruce spent his career at British Gypsum where he worked for 30 years, working his way up to a management position. On early retirement he spent 12 years as Farm Manager at Manor Tree Farm Animal Rescue Centre at East Leake, where Jaquie also worked. The couple adopted two infant llamas which they hand-reared at the farm and organised an annual Llama day there which attracted visitors from far and wide.
Because of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, the family can’t have the church funeral they had hoped for, but plan a memorial service for Bruce later in the year.
Now family members are keen to support Nottinghamshire Hospice’s and Bruce’s grand-daughter Samantha plans to take part in a running challenge to raise funds.