Palliative care is the care of patients, their friends, their families
who are living with an incurable diagnosis,
and our aim, really, is to improve the quality of life
for those patients and those who care for them.
People die of all kinds of illnesses
and most palliative care teams are very open
to care for people with any incurable disease,
so we're interested in how, physically, a patient might feel,
and I guess that's the issues around pain and those problems.
And we're interested in those emotional symptoms, the fear, the anxiety.
Davine was really struggling and you could tell that something wasn't right,
and sure enough, upon further investigation,
she had secondary liver cancer diagnosed,
so we were given a terminal diagnosis.
That was when we were first introduced to Sue Ryder Care.
It was as if a weight was lifted off Davine's shoulders.
She immediately felt that this was somewhere she needed to be
because such a huge weight had been placed upon her
coming to terms with her own mortality
and this was, I think, where she felt she could address it and deal with it.
Those questions like "Who will look after me if I become unwell at home?"
Or maybe "What finances am I entitled to?"
And the last part of care which we're involved in
is what we might call spiritual care.
So helping patients to find, if possible,
some kind of meaning from their situation.
I think here she was able to think about lots of things, her own mortality,
write lots of things, she wrote in a journal, she wrote letters to family.
She came up with ideas as to how she wanted to be remembered.
Yeah, she made us these special boxes at Easter
and they had different stuff in, photos.
She was always like that, she was quite into making little arts and crafts.
And I think she knew it was terminal
and she just wanted to give us something to remember her by.
We've got pictures of us with her on them.
We just store them up on a shelf
and every now and then we just get them down,
look at all different things that we've put in there to remember her by,
like photos and things she's given us,
and I think that helps a lot as well.
You recognise that all of us at some point are going to die,
but even if you have a terminal diagnosis you're still very much living,
and so what we would want to do is improve patients' quality of life.
Sue Ryder Care enabled such a positive quality of life
that we were able to take advantage of family trips away, family holidays,
going away to Scotland,
taking advantage of all of the recreational opportunities
that a family could want in a summer.
Part of our role is to support the patient and the families
around about what care they want at the end of life
and what choices they may want to make,
and that might be around where they want to die.
I arrived five minutes after she had died,
but it's never been a problem for me
because I knew of how much she valued the treatment, the care
from all of the nursing staff.
I know that one of the nurses was holding her hand at the time.
She was holding someone who was caring for her,
was doing exactly what she would want.
Palliative care is also very aware of the enormous pain and distress of grief
and so most teams would want to support relatives and friends of patients
after the patient has died.
After Davine died we received a monthly call
from the Sue Ryder Care support team.
I would always wonder, "What am I going to talk about?"
and then 40, 45 minutes later be saying goodbye
and perhaps looking forward to our next conversation in a month's time.
One of the ways we work is to say to patients and carers,
but also to other health professionals,
"We're here, we're friendly. Come and speak to us."
You go to places like hospitals or you talk about it at school
and it's more... it's the illness you're talking about and the symptoms,
whereas here it's coping with it and support and stuff.
People are friendly and the atmosphere's nice and everything.
It's just a nice warming place to be.
I think it was a good way to go
and making the very best of a bad situation.
I think physically, emotionally and spiritually she was ready
and in hindsight it made it a lot more bearable.