Susan Campbell’s dad John Downie spent the last week of his life at The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice and she says she can’t think of a better place for him to have received palliative care.
“Everything was looked after, it was calm and he was really well cared for. Although it’s awful that he’s not here and we miss him terribly, I honestly feel that last week of his life could have been a lot more difficult if he wasn’t in the hospice,” she remembers.
“In the hospice it was as if everyone pre-empted every need. That attitude was, we will do what we have to do to make him comfortable, it was wonderful.”
John, from Muirend, was 79 when he died. He had a stroke and had been in hospital receiving treatment when doctors discovered cancer. A consultant suggested going to the hospice to help manage John’s pain. Staff at the hospice’s inpatient unit worked hard to make sure he was in little pain as possible, working day and night to make him comfortable.
“He had phenomenally good health all his life, it was a massive change for him when he had a stroke. I’m very grateful he had 79 years of very good health, great holidays with my mum and he saw his grandchildren,” says Susan.
“You make a bit of peace with that, for what he had during his life.”
An engineer to trade, John’s last role was with Strathclyde Regional Council as assistant director in the economic development department, a job he loved that took him all over the world.
“When he came to the hospice in that last week, he was deteriorating very quickly. My brother, my mum and I were all with him when he died,” she adds.
“I’ll always remember the night before he died, my mum was staying with him and I went home to get things for her. Someone had made up a bed for her in my dad’s room and it was so warm and welcoming with a little side light on and a cushion on the bed. It wasn’t what you would expect a room to look like when there was a man dying and his wife of 50 years was going to be beside him.
“When my mum was lying down and couldn’t get to sleep, someone came in and brought her hot milk. She didn’t ask for it, someone just came in with it. These are the magical moments that sum up good care.
“It makes a huge difference in how you’re trying to deal with your grief because everything that could have been done for him was.
“There’s an assumption that the hospice is fully Government funded but it’s a charity. I can’t imagine what it would be like if people couldn’t access the services of the hospice. When the new hospice opens at Bellahouston, it’s going to be phenomenal.”