“The value of what we received from Fair Havens was unprecedented. We didn’t realise how much they did and I don’t know what we’d have done without them. It’s important for everyone to have that choice. The other option is unimaginable.”
An endoscopy in March 2010 determined that Kevin had a cancerous tumour on his oesophagus. The consultant said he’d have six months to a year to live. He started an aggressive form of chemotherapy but it was so strong that he was taken to hospital where he stayed for a month. He lost four stone in weight in three weeks and the doctors didn’t think he’d make it but the cancer subsided.
His son Dean explained, “Dad didn’t need treatment for six months but swallowing started to become more difficult again; he could only manage to eat soup, he was in and out of hospital a lot that year. He was in a lot of pain - the cancer was starting to take over. Dad was very weak and had a fall in the night and they found out the cancer had spread to his brain. It was his body’s way of shutting down.”
Ben, also Kevin’s son, said, “Dad wanted to die at home so we did everything we could for him. We moved his room down from the loft, got an electric bed, had hand rails installed. It was perfect for him to come home to but he’d built up so much dependence on the nurses and it had become his normality. He felt alone at home.”
Kevin was referred to Fair Havens Hospice in September 2012.
“We all thought the hospice was an old people’s home but we went to look around and thought ‘This is perfect’. They put Dad on a waiting list for a bed and we didn’t know if he’d make it but thankfully, a room became free. It was such a relief. The nurses were just amazing, they checked on him every hour.”
Dean said, “We hated leaving him in hospital but at Fair Havens we could come and go as we pleased. We even took Gus, our dog, to see him! We could never have done that in hospital and it was an amazing moment for us."
“It had been a tough two and a half years so we were relieved when Dad died because he wasn’t suffering any more. It was surreal to say goodbye but it would have been awful if we weren’t at Fair Havens. It made the biggest difference to how we have all coped with it. There are a lot of things behind the scenes that can be taken for granted. It’s important for people’s perceptions to change.”
Ben added, “It was so private and the nurses were so informative. They let us know what was happening all the time. The value of what we received was unprecedented. We feel like we owe them for everything they did for Dad and us. We didn’t realise how much they did and I don’t know what we’d have done without them. The way he died, that scenario, was perfect. It’s important for everyone to have that choice. The other option is unimaginable."
“We knew very little about Fair Havens Hospice until we needed them, and like everyone that has needed them, we are forever grateful for the amazing work, care, love and attention they provided our Father (and husband) when he needed it most."
“If we weren’t as fortunate as we were, and the opportunity of my father going into the Hospice wasn’t available, I don’t know what we would have done. We hope no one ever requires the need of a Hospice, but if they ever do, it should be available to them no matter what, which is why these new premises are so fundamentally important."
“We all back the new Fair Havens whole heartedly and still cannot understand why anyone would object to such amazing and undervalued care, especially for those who have very little choice left.”