Lindsay Gibbs began caring for her mother, Iris, nine years ago after she began suffering from dementia.
In June 2020, Iris’s GP referred her to Hospiscare’s Admiral Nursing team. This specialist dementia service comprises two nurses, Chrissy Hussey and Julie Morris, who help dementia patients live more positively and support them and their families with any challenges they may face now and in the future.
Lindsay explains, “Chrissy visited us at home and she was very knowledgeable, discussing a number of issues that dementia may cause, such as difficulty with mobility and loss of peripheral vision, which I was unaware of. Chrissy also told me about the services provided by Hospiscare’s Admiral Nurses and for the first time, my feelings of isolation disappeared.
“We were referred to Julie and we hit if off straight away. Julie’s support was invaluable to me and I always looked forward to my next conversation with her. We often spoke on the phone but she also visited us at home.
“Sometimes my confidence would take a knock, as I’ve never had to care for someone in need of such complex support, but Julie always made me feel valued.”
Lindsay also received support with her mother’s care from the nurses on our specialist ward in Exeter. Lindsay says, “Over the following months, things gradually changed and I contacted the nurses at the hospice to seek their help and guidance about Mum’s needs relating to food and drink. The nurses were always available and very supportive whenever I needed to speak to them.
“Mum deteriorated quite slowly in the beginning, but this did accelerate. Julie ensured that Mum remained as comfortable and pain-free as possible throughout and she would take the initiative to liaise with Mum’s GP. Between them, they ensured that I was doing the right thing for Mum.
“Julie and Chrissy continued to work closely with the doctors involved in Mum’s care. They were the ones I relied upon the most for Mum’s treatment – I trusted them more than anybody.
“On 26 November 2021, Mum died peacefully at home. I wanted Mum to remain at home with me so that we could be together at the end. Julie made this possible by communicating with Mum’s doctors and care providers, ensuring that I had everything I needed.
“I will always be grateful to Julie, whose care and compassion was without doubt very significant in allowing my mum to be with me at the end of her life.
“When you’ve got someone who understands what you’re going through, it makes a whole world of difference. It can be a lonely place, caring for someone, and Julie and Chrissy’s support made me feel less alone.”
For advice and information about living with dementia, please click here.