I recently received a nice email from Lisa, an Assessing Officer in Gateshead Council Community Based Services (social services). We have worked closely with that department for many years and have a very good relationship with the multi-disciplinary team.
The email said:
“Just to thank you for your recent Advocacy involvement with a service user at the end stages of his life.
In July, the 87 year old gentleman was admitted into the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. He was diagnosed as suffering from Lymphoma. He had never married, had no children or family and no close friends. He suffered multiple health problems and following his recent palliative diagnosis and deterioration in his physical health was unable to return home to his flat in Gateshead.
I made a referral to your Advocacy Services to support the gentleman in his choice of nursing homes. You, as the appointed worker contacted me within days of the referral being made. I discussed the case in more detail with you and informed you of the outcome of my assessment – The gentleman required 24 hour nursing care.
You visited him in hospital very quickly to introduce yourself and after discussions with him you were able to bring nursing home brochures to the hospital to show him what was available and to enable him to choose his new home with your support.
Unfortunately his health deteriorated very quickly while still in hospital and the nursing staff on the ward contacted you to inform you of the deterioration. You immediately re-arranged your diary to enable you to visit him in the last hours of his life. You showed empathy and genuine regard for his care throughout the whole process and I believe he felt supported by this.” Lisa McGeary, Assessing Officer, Queen Elizabeth Hospital
The sentiments in Lisa’s email prove that we are developing a valuable asset for older people affected by cancer in our communities, working collaboratively with other agencies. Lisa made the initial referral to Age UK Gateshead based on a good working relationship. We welcome all comments about how the project is being delivered so we can change and adapt delivery to suit users of the service.
Alan Davison, Project Lead, Gateshead Cancer Advocacy