David Jones - End of Life Care

David Jones was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2009 aged 58.

He immediately underwent thyroid surgery and a course of radiotherapy and in 2011, much to the delight of him and his wife Sandra, he was given the all clear.

Unfortunately, completely out of the blue and following a blood test, David was told that not only had he not beaten the cancer it had become more aggressive and he was told that it was terminal.

The cancer caused excruciating pain in David’s back and he went through distressing surgery and then was put on a drug trial, but his condition continued to deteriorate.

He then spent time in a hospice before coming back to his home in Brompton-on-Swale, near Richmond, to receive end of life care from Herriot Hospice Homecare.

Having what are effectively strangers in your home can be difficult, especially when you are vulnerable, but Sandra says he was very accommodating and he never complained. Because it was the same carers who came every day, four times a day, David soon became familiar and built up a rapport with them.

They helped to shave and wash David, clean his sheets and move his pillows to ensure he was always as comfortable as he could be and engage him in conversation, which was normally about his golf or his beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club.

Sandra says being at home had a positive effect on David. He was able to be with his beloved dogs, Sandra was able to cook meals for him and she even moved her bed next to his in the dining room so they could cuddle up and watch a film.

David sadly died with Sandra lying beside him at the end in January 2012.

Three years on, and it is still understandably difficult for Sandra to talk about his death but she says she received a great deal of comfort from the support David and her received from Herriot.

She says: “Nothing can prepare you for how heart-breaking it is when you find out the person you love is going to die and how exhausting it is for both people.

“While the Herriot team of carers, sitters and holistic therapists were with David I knew he was in great hands. I could do things like taking the dogs for a walk, doing some paperwork and even take a longer shower than usual, all with an easier mind.

“They were fantastic and were always happy to chat with him to help take his mind off the discomfort he was in.

“One of the best ways of demonstrating how amazing the carers were is by sharing this story. David loved his music but towards the end he found it too distressing to listen to because he knew he would soon not be able to hear music again. Then, one day, just before one of the carers visited, he told me he wanted to share one of his favourite jazz songs with her. When she arrived he played one song on his iPod. It was just one song, but it was so emotional and so personal to him that he wanted her to hear it.

“That for me sums up everything that is good about Herriot Hospice Homecare.”