18th May 2021
Hospice ‘comes to the rescue’ to help Ray’s family
Nottinghamshire Hospice stepped in to help Ray Gregg remain in his Chilwell home during the final weeks of his life.
Ray, 94, had Heart Failure and lung disease, managed by home oxygen therapy. He continued to live independently, well into his 90s, before his health deteriorated.
He was keen to stay in his own home, so the hospice provided a package of Hospice in your Home care, starting with daytime visits and progressing to overnight nursing as his illness worsened.
Ray’s daughter Helen, who lives in Derbyshire, said: “We never dwelt on Dad’s condition being life-limiting, but things took a turn around Christmas time when he was really struggling with severe breathlessness. The stairs which Dad referred to as ‘Everest’, were fast becoming insurmountable.
“On the cusp – it transpired – of requiring palliative care, we were distressed at how best to manage the situation. I said to my sister, ‘I’ll do the night shift, you do the day shift, or he’ll have to go into care.’
“Those seemed the only options until Nottinghamshire Hospice came to the rescue with its Hospice in your Home service. Initially the ‘Hospice Outreach & Discharge Service’ (HODS) team came to get Dad up, breakfasted and showered and visited several times a day. He was delighted and so grateful to them. He called them his ‘Merry Maids!’ Felicity was so skilled at organising his care, we had every faith in her team.”
Support at home
Helen had envisaged she and her sister, Julie, (pictured above with Ray) would be sole carers for Ray at home, but the HODS support enabled them to spend time with their Dad in other ways.
“At the end of January, as he became extremely poorly, the hospice arranged for an experienced team member to stay with him all night, so Julie and I could stay and sleep, knowing our lovely Dad was being well looked after. Their care and support was crucial at a very distressing time.
“You feel completely helpless in this situation. Possibly more so when you think you should know what to do. As a retired nurse, I knew how these things might play out, but it is sometimes unpredictable. It was such a relief to know the Hospice team were on board.”
Ray’s daughter Julie, who lives in Leicestershire, said that the hospice support was reassuring for the whole family, including her adult children, unable to visit from London owing to Covid restrictions. Over the last year they’d had daily contact with their grandad, via Facetime.
Help to maintain independence
Ray, who left school at 14, was a Bevin Boy – conscripted to work in the coalmines at the end of World War II. He then joined the railway, initially as a porter, becoming a signal man and working his way up to Senior Technical Officer. He tried hard to maintain his independence and did not want his daughters to have to move in with him.
Julie, said: “He was a very special, well-loved dad, grandad and friend. We are very grateful to the Hospice In Your Home service. Their exceptional, compassionate carers helped him to remain in his own home throughout the latter part of his illness.”
The family asked for donations for the Hospice at Ray’s funeral and raised £3,679.48 – testament to the popular, loved, cherished person he was and the high regard they had for the Nottinghamshire Hospice team.
Felicity Morgan, Hospice At Home lead at Nottinghamshire Hospice said:
“It was a privilege to be able to care for Ray and ensure we fulfilled his wish of staying at home. We are so grateful to Ray’s family and friends for their generosity towards the Hospice.”