The curtains were drawn as I entered the two bedded bay, called there by a staff nurse.
And there was my patient, let’s call her Mary, with daughter and brother at her side.
It’s amazing how much you can tell from a first glance. Mary was on her journey from this world. She was comfy, free from pain, and when I looked at her I saw dignity and strength.
She was from the Welsh valleys and her lovely family told me a bit about her life and her move to Worcestershire. I could tell immediately, through the tears and tangible sadness, the love that they held for Mary. Of course, not all families are like this but the vast majority are: grief stricken, tired out, but surrounding their family member with love and support.
They told me what a character she was, about her strength and fortitude, and above all about what she meant to them.
But they were not on their own, they said. “All the staff have been marvellous; so caring and kind.” I feel I should repeat that statement in the light of the current reports of the Acute Trust: “All the staff have been marvellous; so caring and kind.”
And, as if by magic, a health care assistant appeared. “How are you Mary?” she asked the semi-conscious patient. And then, turning to the family she said: “Everyone on the ward loves her you know. We all want to take her home!”
This is common on this ward and many others in our hospital. Staff really do care. They form a relationship with their patients. People matter to them and they want to make a difference – especially at the end of a human life.
I’d love to tell you which ward this was but can’t for fear of identifying the patient – but they will know who they are. They will know of the care and dedication which they give day after day. And they will know that is why they do the job that they do.
So, with all the focus on improvement. With the six week timeframe we have to put things right. With the pressures and challenges which face us daily. I say, give praise and credit where it is due.