Friends have said to me when I have spoken of the care and support that I have received from Beaumond House that they had no idea about how much they help younger people and also patients who are not terminally ill and realistically can recover from having cancer. This is why I want to give something back
I was finally diagnosed with bowel cancer last October after numerous trips to the doctor followed by countless tests and procedures. Diagnosis took a long time and was very stressful. As soon as I was diagnosed I got immediate help and support from Beaumond House.
The Star Trust
The 2015 Beaumond House request to The Star Trust included two items which were considered to be essential in enabling Beaumond House to continue to offer the highest standard of care to our patients who have terminal illnesses or who may come to us for end of life care. As people approach the end of life they may need to be cared for in bed all the time as they become weaker and are no longer able to sit in a chair or move around. This puts the person at high risk of developing pressure ulcers along with other factors. It is therefore important that we provide a support surface (mattress) that offers both comfort and pressure relieving qualities. We requested two CuroCell Cirrus Mattresses and two, although the generosity of the Star Trust enabled us to purchase four, pressure relieving riser recliner chairs meaning we now have one in each in-patient bedroom. When using the mattresses which preceded our purchase of Curocell Cirrus mattresses patients frequently commented that they could not sleep because of the noise that the mattress made whilst performing its pressure relieving activity. Patient’s reported feelings of sea sickness and that they could feel the cells inflating and deflating beneath them, which was unpleasant at times. Our only action previously would have been to downgrade the mattress being used by the patient to a non-pressure relieving mattress resulting in a potentially uncomfortable and distressing transfer for patients added to a then increased risk of developing pressure sores.
The mattresses were received on 13th January 2016 and to date have been used by 14 patients. Since using the new mattresses, we are so pleased to report that our health care assistants and nurses often report that patients have slept well. ‘Lovely night’s sleep’ being the words of one. Since we have been using these mattresses, no patient who has been nursed by Beaumond House has developed or had a deterioration of a pressure sore.
The riser recliner chairs have also offered an increased quality of life to patients, particularly those who are at the end of life. The support and alternative cushioning provided by these
chairs means they are adaptable to patients of different sizes and weights offering the most suitable comfortable for a wide range of patients. We purchased four Oska Regis riser recliner chairs, one for each of our in-patient bedrooms with added inserts and to ensure they give additional pressure relief.
The chairs were received on 19th February and to date 21 patients have been supported, with access to the chairs.
In March Beaumond House was asked to look after a gentleman who was in the last days of his life. This gentleman’s condition meant that he was more comfortable in a sitting and upright position. It was his wish that that he be out of bed and sitting, with his family around him. The chairs we have purchased mean that patients can remain in the chairs for longer periods and avoid making uncomfortable and distressing transfers from bed to chair and vice versa. In this instance it was the gentleman’s wish that he be upright with his family around him at the end of his life and we were able to respect that wish knowing he was comfortable.
In 2010, Matt’s father, Bill, was diagnosed with lung cancer and was prescribed a course of chemotherapy. Following this and a brief period of apparent improvement, Bill was further diagnosed with a tumour on his brain for which he was advised to have radiotherapy.
At this time Bill was in Doha, staying with his daughter. As he became more poorly he was admitted to the local hospital, Matt and his Mum (Suzanne) flew out to be with him. But Bill did not improve and local Doctors were unwilling to permit him to travel home telling Bill and his family that there was nothing else they could do for him.
Bill did improve a little allowing him to travel home and to be at home in the love and care of his family. Sadly once home, Bill had a relapse and collapsed. The attending ambulance crew suggested that Bill and Suzanne think about some extra support, perhaps Beaumond House.
“Mum would have struggled looking after Dad for much longer, other family members tried to juggle work and family commitments but it was very hard and it became evident that it was not going to be possible for Dad to stay at home, where he really wanted to be. Most of all he didn’t want to go into hospital, he hated them so much, having had such bad past experiences it would have really upset him to have been admitted. We agreed that Dad should come to Beaumond House.”
Matt had never previously been into Beaumond House and admitted that he really did not know what to expect, other than perhaps a white, clinical, shiny interior with that awful ‘hospital’ smell.
“Coming into Beaumond House was like coming into someone’s home, the warmth and welcoming was nothing like I had expected. Dad was made so comfortable, he was happy to be at Beaumond House. We all felt that Dad was safe and treated with dignity while he was there, we were happy to leave him knowing his every need would be attended to. Whilst his condition was deteriorating rapidly we knew he was enjoying the dedicated attention the staff offered. We could come and go as we wanted and towards the end when we knew that Dad was ready to go, all the children were able to come in and say goodbye. The reassurance we felt in the care of Beaumond House meant that we could concentrate on spending time being with Dad rather than concerned about giving him the care he needed.
For our family the most important thing was that Dad was comfortable, our needs came second, but we felt our questions were always answered, everyone was fantastic and we were never left worrying about the care he was receiving. Dad couldn’t be at home, Mum just would not have been able to cope, but in Beaumond House he received the care, respect and attention that we all wanted for him.
My wife and I are not charity people, we are very sceptical about how many charities spend their income, but we both now want to do whatever we can to support Beaumond House, we won’t ever be able to repay Beaumond House for the love and care given to Dad, but we want to do whatever we can because we know that the money raised will go directly to looking after local people.”
In loving memory of William Morris.