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Letter: Massive praise for care my dad received

Praise for local services.
Praise for local services.

I want to praise the combined health, social care and charitable services of your lovely town, as well as the local people and businesses.

I live in Kent, and this year I have lost my mum (who lived in South London) to dementia, and I had to fight for every moment of care, every item of equipment.

My in laws moved to Scarborough from London in 2001.

My widowed father-in-law was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in November last year. At diagnosis he was 84. He was a hale and hearty man, and doctors at the hospital said that as he was so fit for his age, he could have chemotherapy to extend the time he had left.

The chemotherapy unit at Scarborough Hospital were marvellous, showing him patience, understanding and compassion, explaining what they were doing at every stage of his treatment, and then going over it with us when he got confused with the jargon. Where I live, he would have been told he was too old for anything other than palliative care.

When it was clear the chemotherapy was no longer working (September) they explained in a sensitive way, and we were passed on to St Catherine’s Hospice. Dad was determined he would not go into hospital, and the truly wonderful Hospice at Home team visited to assess his needs and help us to care for him.

Mercifully, the last stages of his illness were brief, and he was bedridden for around four weeks.

In that time, Social Services, his GP Dr Diffy, the district nurse team and St Catherine’s coordinated almost seamlessly to support him, get the hospital bed and other equipment that he needed, and talk to us about how they could help him to have his last wish to die in his home.

Dad died on November 12, three days after his birthday and almost a year to the day after he was diagnosed.

The morning he passed away, we called St Catherine’s at 5am, and two nurses were with us in 20 minutes.

They assessed dad, gave him intravenous drugs to help his pain, and supported us after he died.

I can’t praise or thank them enough, especially St Catherine’s.

How they do that job and maintain their composure at such an emotional time is beyond me ... but I am so glad they do. My sister-in-law works for Sainsbury’s, and her line manager was also so kind and considerate, supporting her so she could be with her dad in his last days, without worrying about her job.

Dad’s neighbours all took the time to knock and pass condolences and a card, telling us of personal memories of him, and to make sure we knew their kindness and concern also applied to us.

You are all very lucky to live in a town with such wonderful health services, charities and community. I’m very glad that my in-laws chose their retirement home so well, and feel very blessed to have been able to experience your hospitality and care in this really difficult time.

Scarborough will always be somewhere I return to, and think fondly of. Thank you ... and be grateful for what you have!

Terry Wildman

Puttney Drive

Sittingbourne, Kent