ellenor: Helping People to Help One Another
When a closed group in the local community needed additional support in looking after one of their own as a medical condition progressed, it was ellenor to whom they turned. They knew that our Adult Hospice at Home Team was able to help them offer sensitive, effective care to their friend within their own four walls, supporting them as they supported one another.
In a community, a group of people live and work together, supporting one another and those beyond their walls. Its members are well used to taking care of themselves, but when expert medical input is needed to help them cope with life-limiting illness, it’s our charity they turn to. The community reflects on its experience of working with the charity to support one another when additional care is required.
“Many of us are older, so we often have someone who is under ellenor’s care. But because we are a community our members die within our walls – which means ellenor staff come to us. We knew when the time was right to ask for the charity’s help. One situation in which the ellenor team offered us their support particularly stands out for us.
“We had one member of our group whose diagnosis meant that she was given a short time to live. For 10 months we looked after her ourselves but Linda, the ellenor nurse and her team of healthcare assistants would come in to advise us on what sort of care we should be giving her. It was our first experience of nursing someone so close to us as she approached death, and an additional pressure was that we couldn’t tell her that one of the people from within our family who was looking after her was also very ill. It was a difficult time for us all, physically, and particularly emotionally, and the team’s kindness and support were so helpful. When the sick carer needed medication or injections to keep them going, it was the team, who came to them if the district nurse was unable to come.
“Pastoral support from ellenor has always been ongoing – we know we can phone Linda and her team if we ever need advice or to be assured that we’re doing the right thing when we’re helping those we live with cope with life-limiting illness. To our family, ellenor’s staff have become our friends and like extended family to us - we don’t only count on their expertise to guide us, we look forward to seeing them, to having a chat and a laugh.
“We realise now that you must experience hospice care to understand it. Before we turned to ellenor ourselves, we had heard about the charity’s work through mutual contacts. We knew, too, that everyone who has ever had support from ellenor has nothing but praise for the care they’ve received. Still, though, we thought that the word ‘hospice’ was synonymous with ‘imminent death’. In fact, it’s about symptom control and making people comfortable - the behind-the-scenes support from ellenor is what helps life to go on. We haven’t used the day-care facilities at the hospice ourselves, but we know those who have, and it has really helped them, especially if they’re lonely.
“We know in our own community that death is a part of life, but sometimes it’s harder for relatives than it is the person who’s dying. It can be such a jolt to learn someone is very ill - yet you know rationally things have to go on. Whatever relatives of the dying are feeling, and however they’re coping, ellenor is there to support them too – the charity cares just as much about the patient’s family as it does for the patient themselves. We know that it’s the charity that offers the very best life-enhancing care to those most in need of it.”