It has always been my wish to die at home when the time comes.
But I have to say, in reality with what my dear friend who is dying of cancer is going through, that I am actually not so sure now, from what I have seen so far supporting to keep them at home…
They live alone and are now bed-ridden, and cannot do anything for themselves in terms of looking after themselves.
We managed to get fast track CHC funding which is available to people in their last 12 weeks of life. and have 4 visits a day from a Care agency. In the morning for 45 mins, 30 mins at lunch, teatime and before bedtime.
Within this time they have to provide personal care, food preparation, changing laundry and any other bits that my friend needs. As you can see it is not a long time at all, and there is little opportunity for personal connection as the carers are rushing off to their next job.
They are underpaid and undervalued, and are not nurses, which is what my friend needs as he is in a LOT of extreme pain, with the cancer and touching their body and moving them is extremely painful for them.
And now there’s the bed sores from them being laid in bed for well over 2 weeks now. The District Nurses come in twice a week and we are in close contact with the GP and St. Peter’s Hospice for pain management.
My friend is on their own A LOT. In the week it is busy with visits from nurses, the carers, doctors and other agencies, but at the weekend and at night it is quiet, although this weekend was full of visits from friends.
From 8pm until 10am they are on their own with their phone and panic button.
We as his friends cannot be there 24 hours a day.
If they could move around on their own, it would be a different story, as it was for some time.
But 10 months down the line, it is a very different story.
I am there during the week and on the phone, but on weekends I have a break.
When my mum was dying at home , it was very different as she had us, the family. She was in the later stages of the cancer when she was diagnosed and had no Chemo treatments, 6 weeks diagnosis until death.
This experience with my dear friend has opened my eyes to the reality of living alone with no family at hand, and has given me a lot to reflect on for when my time comes.
What would your preference be?