When Marlene arrived in Scotland from South Africa she was initially cared for by her family. She was receiving cancer treatment and became involved with St Vincent’s Hospice in September 2019. Initially visited at home by hospice community nurse specialists- (CNS) and hospice OT who provided some equipment for home, Marlene soon joined the hospice Day group for social/emotional and medical support. From the start she embraced the care and compassion the hospice provided and expressed gratitude often for the practical and emotional support that she received. She loved attending the group and was welcomed by the other patients, staff and volunteers.
When COVID-19 struck in March 2020, day hospice like many others suddenly stopped, and the group moved to virtual zoom call sessions. Marlene continued to ‘attend’ the weekly zoom calls every Wednesday. As Marlene‘s treatment stopped and her health declined she had additional support from the community hospice team. When Siobhan, Marlene’s daughter, kindly appeared as a guest from Texas on a zoom call a couple of weeks before Marlene died, Marlene was delighted to share the screen with her daughter and the other patients.
As Marlene’s health declined further she was seen regularly at home by CNS nurses. She decided on 29th March that it was time for her to come to the hospice as her wishes were to stay at home for as long as possible but to come to the hospice for end of life care. She was admitted to the hospice on 1st April and sadly passed away with her son and daughter at her side.
Family have described this as a ‘Perfect Death’ as Marlene’s wishes were granted and she died so peacefully with her family at her side. Marlene was comforted and supported through the last couple of years by the hospice, she embraced it all and was always very grateful.