Haven has helped me through dark­ness

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - Yourviews - BY OLIVER CLAY oliver.clay@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @Oliv­er­ClayRWWN

ARUNCORN woman who lost her hus­band to cancer in Jan­uary shortly af­ter he had been deemed fit enough to work has shared her story of how he was looked af­ter dur­ing his fi­nal months in Run­corn to mark Hos­pice Care Week.

Linda Miller, 67, who set­tled with her hus­band Alexan­der years in Run­corn with her son and Alexan­der’s two daugh­ters hav­ing dated for while when younger but set out on sep­a­rate lives be­fore rekin­dling the re­la­tion­ship af­ter their mar­riages ended.

In Au­gust last year Alexan­der, orig­i­nally from Da­gen­ham, de­vel­oped lung cancer.

His 10-day stay in War­ring­ton Hospi­tal was fol­lowed by a re­turn home and then reg­u­lar vis­its to Ch­ester for treat­ment.

He soon tired of the con­stant travel on the M56 mo­tor­way un­til the doc­tor men­tioned Halton Haven on Barn­field Av­enue, which he said could pro­vide all the treat­ment un­der one roof.

Fol­low­ing a meet­ing with Dr Averil Foun­tain, Halton Haven med­i­cal di­rec­tor, the switch was made and he be­gan vis­it­ing the hos­pice, in Mur­dishaw, once a week.

When Alexan­der’s con­di­tion de­te­ri­o­rated, Dr Foun­tain as­sured them he would have a bed on the hos­pice’s in­pa­tient unit when the time came, which was Jan­uary.

He ar­rived on a Fri­day and passed away the fol­low­ing Tues­day.

It was dur­ing Alexan­der’s time at the hos­pice that Linda met Jan Gray who is head of the hos­pice’s fam­ily sup­port team, of­fer­ing prac­ti­cal and emo­tional sup­port to pa­tients and their rel­a­tives when­ever it is needed.

Linda’s dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion with Alexan­der’s ill­ness was ag­gra­vated by his ben­e­fits pay­ments be­ing stopped be­cause he had been deemed fit enough to work.

Jan was on hand to pro­vide prac­ti­cal help and guid­ance to rec­tify this and ar­ranged for a ben­e­fits as­ses­sor to visit Linda at home and restart his wel­fare.

She also helped Linda to or­gan­ise the fu­neral and gave her a list of depart­ments to con­tact to han­dle the ad­min­is­tra­tion, and Jan ar­ranged a meet­ing with a so­lic­i­tor when Linda was hav­ing some other per­sonal con­cerns, and came along to the meet­ing with her to help her through it.

Af­ter the prac­ti­cal help, Jan suggested that Linda might need some emo­tional sup­port and suggested coun­selling.

Linda said she could not praise enough the value of Jan’s work.

She said: “Jan is so help­ful and kind. She’s so un­der­stand­ing and noth­ing was too much trou­ble for her.

“She said to me ‘if there’s any­thing you need, I’ll help’ and I was so grate­ful to hear those words.”

Linda now vis­its Halton Haven once a week to see Max­ine Dixon on the fam­ily sup­port team.

She said: “I have found it use­ful. It’s helped tremen­dously. The ses­sions with Max­ine have made me feel bet­ter. It takes time but I am get­ting there.”

Prais­ing Jan some more she said: “She’s bril­liant, an ab­so­lute star.

“I don’t think I would be where I am now with­out them. I talk and they lis­ten, and it helps me find my own so­lu­tions. They’ve helped no end and pulled me through some black times.”

Halton Haven said it will be pub­lish­ing sto­ries to high­light what it said is its of­ten un­known or mis­un­der­stood work.

A spokesman for the hos­pice said: “There is a com­mon mis­con­cep­tion about hos­pices across the UK with many peo­ple be­liev­ing they are ‘just a place where you go to die.’

“Whilst Halton Haven does pro­vide end of life care for many pa­tients, there is so much more that hap­pens at the hos­pice.

“Through­out Hos­pice Care Week, ● Halton Haven will be pub­lish­ing sto­ries and news ev­ery day on their Face­book and Twit­ter pages in a bid to erad­i­cate these mis­con­cep­tions and shine a light on what hos­pice care re­ally means.”

Linda Miller with her late hus­band Alexan­der

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.