A woman whose husband died in St Luke’s Hospice has praised hard-working staff from top to bottom and said: “The place is amazing, the staff are incredible.”
The Star, who went behind the scenes to meet the incredible staff who care for people in their final stages of life, met Anne Payne, 73, who shared her sorrow of losing husband Bob of more than 44 years.
A former sheep farmer from Stocksbridge, Bob was ‘full of life’ and loved spending time with his grandchildren.
But Anne’s world was turned upside down when Bob was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013. She said his illness ‘rapidly deteriorated’ after some initial success with treatment.
Bob aged 72, spent five-and-a-half-weeks in St Luke’s and Anne couldn’t praise the people who work there and the hospice enough.
“The staff were absolutely incredible. One of the most overwhelming impressions was everybody at St Luke’s not just the medical and nursing team but the whole staff.
“Right from the cleaners to the catering staff and receptionists, they were able to respond on a human level and more importantly able to see beyond the broken body and to respond to the real person that was still there.”
The pair met on a ‘boring committee’ in Birmingham in the 1970s and shared many happy years together and also worked in social services fostering children along with the work on the farm.
“Bob was a very much a family man and he always supported his children and loved spending time with his grandchildren nattering on about sheep to them or making cupcakes and pancakes with them.
“He had a very dry, but wicked sense of humour at times and he was a very energetic person and he if he believed in something he had to get involved.”
When Bob was really ill, Anne recalled a time when staff wheeled him out in his bed onto the balcony so he could see the trees and the blue sky.
“I can’t tell you how much Bob appreciated that,” she said. “The staff knew he was an outdoors person with this sheep farming and it was something small but it meant a lot.”
And Bob’s passion was noticed by staff. When Anne spotted a dog walking through the hospice corridors, a nurse said she could bring the farmyard to St Luke’s.
“The hospice helped me enormously. Even the small things made a big difference – they not only cared for Bob in the most brilliant way they looked after me and they even said we could bring one of the sheep from the farm for Bob.
“I thought they were joking but it just showed how they would accommodate you.
“We ended up decorating his room with pictures of sheep with rosettes we’d won at shows.”
As the realisation hit Anne that Bob was coming to the end of his life, on one day she became upset as she sat on a chair outside his room.
“A member of the catering staff on the way to the canteen spotted her and offered kind words of support in her hour of need.
“I had a real wobble and it was starting to really get to me,” she said.
“One of the catering staff was walking down the corridor and she came straight over to me, held my hand and asked if I was okay and if I wanted a cup of tea.
“She could’ve fetched one of the nurses but she didn’t and it speaks volumes about St Luke’s no matter what role they were working in they all cared and wanted to help.
“We were all very grateful to St Luke’s for the support they gave the whole family and for the help they gave us through one of the most difficult times imaginable in a kind and human way.
“It made all the difference to the final days of caring for Bob.”