"My Dads last days."
About: Darlington Memorial Hospital Darlington Memorial Hospital Darlington DL3 6HX
Posted by Angelina Farlow
My Dad passed away on Saturday night on ward 43. He was admitted there 21/06/15 following a chest infection which had developed in to severe pneumonia. He was in the later stages of vascular dementia and had been nursed at home by his family until then. We realised that this was the end and I requested we stayed with Dad all of the time during his stay. My Mother did day shift and I did the night shift. We were frequently checked on by staff and all of our needs were provided for with no complaints or problems. We were treated with uppermost respect and my Dad was treated with the dignity he deserved. The staff ensured his comfort around the clock and asked us how we felt and what we thought he needed. They seemed to understand 110% that as his full time carers we knew best how he needed to be cared for. We were kept informed and our involvement in decisions relating to his care and needs was encouraged. Even the doctors asked my opinions in relation to his medication and answered all of my questions honestly. We never had to wait for a long time when we requested anything. I requested PRN medication quite a lot to keep Dad comfortable and it never took very long for the staff to return with it despite the fact they were controlled drugs. I felt as though most importantly that Dad was still being treated as an individual which is a difficult thing to achieve with dementia patients, especially when they are so poorly they cannot communicate. On a few occasions I broke down and I was treated with respect, understanding, empathy and dignity. Nothing was too much trouble for the team and made my first serious bereavement more bearable and to a point a positive experience for the family. It was horrible for me as I was very close to my Dad. I give the staff so much credit for letting me and Mother remain in charge and in control of his care. His comfort was our priority and the team understood this. Often when you are grieving you can become angry and upset and the slightest thing can ignite difficult emotions however I was so comfortable with his care I felt able to take care of myself. Both myself and Mother have had a few bad experiences with care services in the past and have felt let down to the point where we have felt I could not trust anyone with his care. We were so confident about the care Dad was receiving on the ward that we felt able to leave him for an hour or 2 towards the end when we were exhausted and felt we needed to come away sooner. In particular there was a N/A who was so good with my Mam and is a natural at their job. A nurse on night shift helped me a lot, and then the nurse who was on back end nights was also great. I can't express how professional and dedicated the team were and my experience has been a positive one. Many Thanks Angelina Farlow