At Whipps Cross Hospital, Macmillan Information and Support Team Leader Clare Golden has gone the extra mile to improve the experience of care provided to one of our patients and his wife.
Earlier this year Clare met a gentleman who had advanced renal cancer. He had been in hospital for nearly two weeks and his prognosis was very poor. His wife of 50 years was also quite frail and struggled to travel to the hospital to visit him. She didn’t drive, lived in the north of the borough and needed to catch two buses to get to Whipps Cross Hospital every day. She arrived on the ward at 3pm for visiting time and left in the dark and cold January evenings at 6pm. Sadly, her husband was asleep for most of the visiting time and she hadn’t been able to speak to him for over two weeks.
Clare wanted to help. She said: "I was concerned about her safety getting home, but also the precious quality time she and her husband had left together."
After speaking to the ward sister, Clare was able to arrange special visitation for the patient’s wife to come in after 10:30am when they were able to have a proper conversation before he got too tired. Clare also applied for a Macmillan grant to reimburse them for money they had spent on taxi fares for his treatment over the previous six months (over £500) and to include money for taxi fares for her to get home safely after visiting. They were so pleased to have that previous time together and the patient was very relieved that his wife was getting home safely.
Clare said: "I have been at Whipps Cross for 10 years - seven as a volunteer at the Macmillan Information centre and three years managing the centre.
“I remember visiting a ward to hear the nurses talking about the 'glioblastoma in bed 3'. They didn't know this man was a doctor himself, who had spent a lifetime improving the lives of others, who was a world expert in his own field, who was a husband, father, brother, friend, - who was the kindest funniest person I have ever known. He was my Dad.
“I would ask that we all see the person behind the diagnosis. It could be your parent, brother, sister or yourself one day.”
While this may be a small example of the way we can support patients and their families, sometimes it’s the small things that make the biggest difference.
To learn more about the Macmillan Information and Support Team at Whipps Cross Hospital please contact Clare Golden.
To read the Trust Patient Engagement and Experience strategy click here.