Because of you...

Magdalene had a dignified and peaceful death

Magdalene Bekker dedicated her life to nursing and caring for people. Born in Germany, she moved to England in 1950 and began working as a night nurse at a local hospital.

Around 18 months ago, Magdalene started to experience episodes of dizziness and on one occasion fell and hurt her shoulder. She was taken to hospital where she stayed for a number of weeks while medical professionals tried to diagnose her illness. This was to be the first of several hospital admissions.

When Magdalene went into hospital because of an infection, she was diagnosed with cancer. She was soon discharged and the hospital advised that she should be referred for palliative care – a district nurse advised her daughter Ursula to call Prospect Hospice.

“Calling the hospice was the best thing I ever did,” says Ursula. “I called just before 5pm on a Friday afternoon and they arranged for a nurse, Carmen, to come round to the house at 10.30am the next day – a Saturday morning. I couldn’t believe it.

“Mum was distressed by now after all the poking and prodding for tests that had been going on so Carmen took the time to talk to her and help her understand what they needed to do. She then explained to me what may happen next. Things like mum may not eat or drink now which she said this is perfectly normal and to be expected as she approached the end of her life.”

Carmen secured a bed for Magdalene at the hospice in Wroughton.

“When we arrived, we got her settled in a room which she had all to herself and she could see out in to the garden – it was much more like a home than a hospital,” says Ursula.

“I asked Carmen how long she was able to stay for and she explained that people tend to be here for up to about two weeks but that she didn’t expect mum to be here that long. I really appreciated her honesty.”

Magdalene and Ursula then met with one of the doctors to ask a few questions. “I explained mum was a nurse and her response to me was ‘It’s such a privilege to look after one of our own’. It really touched me that mum was just as important to them as she was to me. The doctor asked me if I had any siblings and suggested it would be a good idea to get them here to see mum as there wasn’t much time. It was not until that moment that the reality of losing Mum struck me.”

Ursula stayed all day, but headed home to collect a few things so she could stay the night. Soon afterwards the hospice called to say Magdalene’s breathing had changed and it would be a good time to now come back.

“A kind nurse stayed in the room with me so I knew what was happening. I leant down next to mum and thanked her for everything she’d ever done for me and told her not to struggle on. At that moment she shed a huge tear and took her last breath.”

Magdalene was 97 when she died on 7 October at Prospect Hospice.

“I have so much to be grateful to the hospice for,” says Ursula. “They were my saving grace and ensured mum had a dignified, peaceful ending. I wanted her to have the best ending possible, and the hospice made sure she did.

“It is my firm belief that everyone who needs end of life care should be entitled to receive hospice care. It is so important that we all recognise this amazing care available in Swindon and give whenever we can to ensure that we do not lose this wonderful service.

Because of you...

Because of you, we were there for Magdelene. Without you, we won’t be there for others like her. To donate to Prospect Hospice, and help care for local people like Magdelene, click below.