At the start of lockdown our hospice clinical care teams had to initiate a series of unprecedented measures to protect our staff, volunteers, our patients and their families. One family shares how Dougie Mac supported their family during the pandemic.
In April 2019 Andy Wild, 57 of Longton, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease after numerous falls concerned his family.
While 60% of Dougie Mac’s patients face a cancer diagnosis, the hospice also provides care for local people with life-limiting conditions such as advanced heart failure, dementia and motor neurone disease.
After receiving his diagnosis, Andy was referred to Dougie Mac’s Day Therapy Unit to access hospice services tailored to his individual needs.
Andy’s Wife, Carole Wild, said: “Andy particularly enjoyed spending time in the hospice gym with Dougie Mac’s physiotherapists who supported him to maintain his strength. Andy was also able to discuss his wishes and to explore end of life care options with the Dougie Mac team.”
Andy’s progressive condition led to his admission to the Inpatient Unit in January 2020.
“Andy would often hide how much pain he was in but the team would always know when Andy was struggling. They were brilliant at sensing when something wasn’t right and knew how to make him more comfortable.
“Visiting restrictions at the hospice due to COVID-19 made it an incredibly difficult time but the nurses were so caring and accommodating, including making Andy’s birthday really special. They really did go the extra mile.
“We weren’t sure we would get to spend time with Andy as a family before he died but we will be forever grateful that Dougie Mac made sure me and two of our children, Kelly and Martin got to spend time with Andy before he died with us by his side on 22nd April.”
Within weeks of Andy’s admission to Dougie Mac’s Inpatient Unit, the Wild family were faced with another devastating diagnosis when Andy’s eldest son, Lee aged just 36, was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour.
Before his diagnosis, Lee complained of pins and needles in his hands and his family noticed a change in his short term memory. Following numerous tests and a biopsy, Lee was officially diagnosed with a brain tumour in March 2020, with a prognosis of up to six months.
Lee’s wife Tracy remembers how quickly the cancer advanced: “Lee’s symptoms progressed so quickly, much faster than we ever expected. It was really difficult to communicate with Lee and understand his final wishes. He never really understood how serious his cancer was.
“With the help of Dougie Mac’s Community Team we made the decision to care for Lee at home. Having that choice meant our 3 young children could still spend time with their Dad; the Hospice at Home team were brilliant at supporting us with how to talk to them about Lee’s illness.
“To make administering medication easier and to control his pain at home, Lee was fitted with a syringe pump. COVID-19 made dealing with two terminal illnesses in the family even more difficult but Dougie Mac helped make sure everything was in place and were there for anything we needed.”
Lee died on 26th April 2020 just six weeks after his diagnosis and 4 days after his father Andy.
“It was the most distressing time for our whole family, but Dougie Mac stayed in touch, offering bereavement services to continue to support our family. We would urge anyone who can to support the hospice to make sure other families receive the same exceptional care we did.”
To help Dougie Mac continue to support local families, please visit our online Christmas Gift Guide HERE
Pictured above: Lee, Andy, Lee’s Wife Tracy and three children Max, Jayden and Lexi