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Excellent care from the NHS, right to the end

29 June 2018


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Jim Playle from Bedfordshire is grateful that the NHS has taken such great care of his parents.

Everyone wants the care that they or a loved one receives at the end of their life to be kind, sensitive and dignified, and that is exactly what Jim Playle says his father received from the NHS nine years ago, before he died. Jim explains:

“My father, Stephen Playle, was diagnosed as terminally ill on Christmas Eve 2008 – he sadly passed away on 11th March 2009, just three months later – he was 81. 

 One of the things that dad was really keen on was to be able to die at home.  He really didn’t want to go into a hospital or a hospice and he pleaded with us to make this happen. My mother at this time was also 81 and had just undergone a knee replacement operation, so obviously this was always going to be a difficult thing for her to cope. However, she was adamant that this would happen. 

The local health centre team was magnificent.  The GP and nurses were able to facilitate a hospital bed, so we transformed part of the living room into a bedroom for dad bedroom. 

By the end of January he was unable to walk upstairs, and indeed he became bedridden for the last six weeks of his life. But he was able to see his beloved garden from his bed and this comforted him greatly in his last days – he was a keen gardener!  

Regular daily home visits by the GP and the local nursing team really helped. They were incredibly friendly and caring and looked after dad’s health, but most importantly maintained his dignity throughout.  Not only did they look out for my dad’s needs, but they spoke to my mum and kept her spirits up at what was a traumatic time.

Dad’s care in his last weeks was exemplary and a great comfort to us all – his pain was managed really well and the health team were so responsive to any queries or requests made by my mum or us as a family, she and we were never left without support.

When dad passed away, the sensitivity of the GP and the nursing team was fantastic. They attended within 15 minutes of us calling them and the nurses removed all the medical paraphernalia quickly and made dad presentable so we as a family could have a few moments with him before he was taken away by the undertaker. 

 Throughout all of this the health care team was courteous, kind, professional and gave the very best of care to my dad, while not forgetting my mum’s needs. This enabled my dad, who had served in the Parachute Regiment and was a very proud man, to die with dignity, which was very comforting to us as a family.  My mum was able to fulfil her promise to him  that he would die at home and that meant a great deal to her.  

My mum is now 90 and is struggling with poor health, but she is receiving equally excellent level of care from some great people in the NHS.

 I’m incredibly proud of the NHS and the staff who work in it. The work you do is so vital.  I personally have had a recent cancer scare and the service I have received has proved that my dad’s story is just one of many as I have received the very best of care and support through my situation too, for which I am eternally grateful.” 

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