Mark’s wife Anne was cared for by Martlets during the last few months of her life, both at home and on our inpatient unit. He tells us about the care she received, and the support Martlets provided to their family.
My wife Anne died in February of this year from a very rare, aggressive, incurable cancer. She received the very best care from Martlets, and they also looked after us as a family in so many ways.
Martlets helped Anne stay at home for as long as possible. They provided mobility aids, physiotherapy exercises via Zoom, acupuncture and even an adjustable hospital bed for our bedroom.
Soon after Anne was referred to Martlets, we had a visit from one of their clinical nurse specialists; she guided us through a very difficult time. Anne was still reasonably mobile at that stage, but we were offered the full range of services. Our nurse and the occupational health team went into serious operation mode. They basically sorted out every aspect of Anne’s care. They visited several times to make sure we were coping and had everything we needed to keep Anne comfortable.
Some weeks later, Anne had become completely bedbound; she got out of bed to go to the commode and just didn’t have the strength and mobility to get back in again. We put a call in to Martlets the next morning and they arranged for us to have an adjustable hospital bed; it meant that Anne would be able to sit up and lie down more easily. The bed arrived within 24 hours which was amazing, and it really made a difference.
In the weeks before that, Anne also had access to other Martlets services including acupuncture. A wonderful acupuncturist helped alleviate Anne’s symptoms of breathlessness and the therapy helped generally with her wellbeing. Anne also had one-to-one video calls via Zoom with the physiotherapist at Martlets to help with her mobility. The occupational health team also made sure we had all sorts of good stuff; from safety handles on stairwells to a commode and a wheelchair – and the hospital bed of course.
When the time came for Anne to go into the hospice, the Martlets team were wonderful. They knew when to ask the right questions, when to listen, and how to make us feel cared for in every way.
Anne was taken into Martlets on the 26th of January and spent her last 10 days there. She had a room to herself, and I was able to stay by her side. The staff team were wonderful. As well as caring for Anne and keeping her comfortable they looked after me too. I got fed royally with meals from their canteen and they didn’t charge me. It made such a difference not having to think about things like food and so on and being able to be fully present with Anne.
Our children and their partners were able to come in and visit too (in groups of three because of COVID restrictions). We were also offered aftercare including help with arranging Anne’s funeral, and bereavement counselling if we wanted it.
Afterwards, I made a donation of £100 because I’d probably eaten about £10 worth of amazing food every day I was there. It felt like a way of saying thank you for feeding me so well.
Our badminton club also raised £1,000 for Martlets in memory of Anne which was a lovely gesture. I think years ago we used to play the Martlets Lottery and even won a prize. And we always used to love looking around the Martlets shops for interesting bits and pieces. I’m sure we’ll continue to connect with Martlets in all sorts of ways as we remember the care they gave to Anne and all of us as a family.