Chloe Skinner's Story

My dad, Howard, was diagnosed with untreatable cancer in August 2018, despite being ill for a long time beforehand. After spending some weeks in York Hospital, he was in St Leonard’s Hospice for only a short time before he passed away, but I am so grateful for the care both he and I received in his final few days.

I hadn’t had any experience of hospice care before, so I was bowled over by the extent of the services which made this difficult time a positive experience in many ways. The facilities were homely, comfortable and welcoming, with a beautiful play room which my little girls were thrilled to use and Dad was made very comfortable, despite being in a lot of pain.

Though I knew that hospice care was not just for the patient but the family too, I was still surprised at how thoughtful the facilities and services were, making this time so much easier practically and emotionally. These great facilities and services would be nothing without the staff, who were genuinely caring, supportive and most importantly gave you the time you needed to make sense of all that was happening. I would especially like to thank Charlotte, who was not only a true professional, but took time to simply sit and chat. That was the most touching piece of support I received and will stay with me for a very long time.

 

I never felt like any of the staff were too busy to help, and they never gave the impression that they needed to dash off and do something else, despite doing the practical bits to a very high standard. They talked to dad and were thoughtful and considerate in the care they gave to him, not thinking only of medical practicalities but giving mind to who he was and what might make him happy in his final days.

We got the call to say that my dad’s breathing had changed on the Sunday evening, but he didn’t pass away until the Monday afternoon. I was adamant that I wanted to stay with him during this time and all the staff were both respectful and caring whilst I sat with him. When I had to have a break, they took over sitting with him, and understood perfectly how important human contact was, despite him being unresponsive towards the end.

I know that Howard appreciated everything that St Leonard’s did for him and I will continue to support them in his memory. They are an amazing place, full of amazing people. Thank you, St Leonard’s!