Blog by Arnisa Qasim
Dad, Basharat Hussain, was initially diagnosed with lung cancer in 2015 and at that time it was removed with no follow up treatment. Life for us as a family started to get back to normal when my dad’s cancer came back a year later, but this time in the brain. After surgery and radiotherapy dad was not improving to the point he had paralysis to his one side which left him unable to move without support. His diagnosis now was terminal.
Dad stayed at home for a while and he was put in touch with St Richard’s Hospice. I knew of the hospice but not so much about the day to day things they actually do. Dad had weekly visits from the hospice and the staff were always on the end of a phone for him or the family and they were great.
Dad needed a special bed and other equipment which the hospice arranged and it assisted him to stay able as much as he could.
In December of 2017 things hit rock bottom: dad’s symptoms couldn’t be managed at home and this was stressing for mum and the family. Dad was being admitted to hospitals on a weekly basis and he hated hospitals; the long waits, the atmosphere, everything. The hospital got in touch with St Richard’s and managed to get him an in-patient bed.
The family were reluctant but we went with it because it was better than not managing at home. As soon as mum and dad got there, mum was amazed with the facilities. The room was spacious, looking out onto a lovely pond – there was almost that silence after a storm. It was peaceful and the family visited him on a daily basis and the staff were welcoming.
We were just amazed that for a charity based on just donations the care and facilities were amazing and it made us think why can’t a place like this actually be funded like the NHS? Everything was catered for whether that was physical, mental or spiritual and he had the support when he needed it.
But most importantly in a place like home, mum felt supported and didn’t leave his side for the time he was there. She often says it was like a community and everyone was going through the same. She made great friends there and can’t rate the staff enough.
I guess we used to think we would never need a hospice but we did and it assisted in a lot of ways and the support is still here for the family from St Richard’s.
We can’t thank St Richard’s enough for the support. You often meet people in life who form part of a happy occasion, but to go through a sad time like this, it was comforting to know we had the support there. It made it that little bit easier knowing dad was in a safe place and with help on hand.