Dr Nick Tupper blog: ‘Angels’ helped Bill in last days of his life

Pauline StevensonOur role as a clinical commissioning group is to organise and pay for the NHS services that Doncaster people need.

In many ways it’s behind the scenes work, with clinicians and managers constantly looking at how we can introduce new services or make existing ones better.

It’s a journey without end, as we’re continually striving to do more with the finite NHS resources we have.

But the proof is in the pudding when it comes to patient satisfaction. We want Doncaster people to be able to access the best possible health services and feedback is important to help us achieve our goal.

That’s why I was pleased to hear Cusworth grandma Pauline Stevenson speak in glowing terms of her experience of a new end of life care service we have introduced for terminally ill Doncaster people who want to die at home.

Pauline’s husband Bill was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer three years ago and the disease became more aggressive about 12 months ago, resulting in his death, aged 69, last November. Bill wanted to die at home but caring for him towards the end was becoming increasingly difficult for Pauline, who had her own health problems at the time. Family members were helping, but as Bill deteriorated it became clear they needed extra support.

Pauline was referred to Woodfield 24, a not-for-profit care service run by Flourish Enterprises, a ‘community interest’ business, which is part of the Balby-based Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust. She is pictured above holding a photo of Bill with carers Heather Stanley, Suzanne Pearson and Clare Wileman.

Team members go into people’s homes – often at very short notice – to provide ‘social care’, helping out with everyday household chores and providing personal care to those who are nearing the end of their life.

Pauline told us that Bill had initially refused any outside care as he didn’t want anyone else looking after him. But as soon as he met the Woodfield 24 staff he changed. She said they were so professional, more than carers, and he felt comfortable with them.

Pauline described them as ‘angels’, who visited up to three times a day to look after him in the three weeks leading up to his death, helping with daily activities and working with the community nurses. He was in bed all the time, but looked forward seeing them and they took a massive weight off Pauline’s shoulders, enabling her to spend quality time with him.

We believe this is a service that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the country, so Doncaster is leading the way in developing new ways of providing all important end of life care for local people. Since its launch last summer, over 100 Doncaster people have been able to die at home thanks to the care of Woodfield 24 staff. This number will grow as the team develops.

  • You can hear Pauline Stevenson speaking about Woodfield 24 and the care Bill received in a  video produced by NHS Doncaster CCG below:

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