AN ILKESTON widow is backing Treetops Hospice’s plans to spend an extra £1m on end-of-life care over the next five years.
The plans announced this week will see the Risley-based charity send nurses to care for patients at their own homes as they enter their final days.
Jane Widdowson’s husband John, was 49 when he died from oesophageal cancer two years ago.
Jane, mum to seven-year-old Miriam and 14-year-old Lydia told the Advertiser she is certain John’s death was easier to handle because he was able to die at home, thanks to a Treetops nurse being there.
She said: “Treetops was a great support to us in the final week of John’s life. It was a weight off my shoulders knowing I could sleep and not have to listen out for John.”
Jane, who now volunteers in the kitchen at the hospice, added: “John was in continual pain that prevented him sleeping and knowing that a nurse was there to provide regular pain relief was a blessing.
“Having the hospice at home nurse enabled John to die at our home amongst family and close friends.”
Treetops Hospice currently has around 40 registered nurses and health care assistants providing 20,000 hours of care at home each year – this equates to 500 patients.
The charity want to double this to 40,000 hours of care for 1,000 patients each year which will mean them taking on another 20 nursing staff.
Kathy Longden is director of clinical services at Treetops Hospice.
She said: “This year, we will have received a record 1,500 referrals across all our services, compared to 750 five years ago. Put simply, if we don’t expand then we can’t meet the increased demand.
“The feedback we receive from families following the death of a loved one tells us it makes such a difference to them knowing that the person they care for was able to die in the familiar surroundings of their home, as opposed to a hospital ward.”
Plans will also see the hospice’s day care centre open six days a week.