Prospect Hospice treated my mum with care and compassion

October 2021

Care, Family Support, Prospect@home

Did you know that the care provided by Prospect Hospice is free of charge and that a large amount of care is delivered in the community?

Many patients prefer to die at home and our specialist nursing staff and doctors work with patients and their families to provide care and support tailored to them.

During Hospice Care Week Carly Knox, 39, a care worker of Swindon (pictured), is sharing the story of her mother, Diana Brewer, 69, who was cared for by the Prospect@Home team and died at home as she wished. Carly also received bereavement support from Prospect Hospice’s family support team.


Carly’s story

My mum moved to Swindon with her family from London when she was a teenager. She was married to my dad, Michael Brewer, just shy of 50 years when he died on 17 February 2018.

They were publicans and managed working men’s clubs and institutions all over Swindon including Walcot and Parks Royal British Legion. Also, my dad played in bands (one was called Persian Wood) in the 1970s and supported the likes of The Who, Suzi Quatro and Mott the Hoople and we would all go and watch him play, including at the Brunel Rooms in Swindon.

A few months after dad died, mum became unwell and she was diagnosed with stage 4 advanced cancer.

Diana Brewer

She was discharged from hospital on a Thursday and by the weekend she was in a terrible state. It was only then that I was told she was nearing the end of her life. I called Prospect Hospice on the Monday and within two hours two lovely nursing staff were at mum’s house. They immediately sat mum up on the sofa, read her medical notes and contacted her GP.

They said don’t give mum anything to eat or drink, she is unable to swallow it and she’s at risk of choking. Within the hour they were back with a GP from mum’s surgery who went through mum’s wishes with us all.

Mum wanted to remain at home and not go into the hospice; she said it was clinical and she wanted the comfort of her own home.

She was fitted with a syringe driver for pain relief and anti-sickness medication. By 3pm that afternoon we had a hospital bed in mum’s front room, other equipment and a package of care was set up involving a care company, a social worker and district nurses. I was overwhelmed that the hospice nurses had all this in place within a few hours.

As well as wanting to die at home the Prospect nurses asked her where she wanted the hospital bed to face – either the TV or the window?

Mum wanted to face the wall towards the kitchen as it had hundreds of pictures of all of us children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and pets past and present. Mum always called it the rogue’s gallery and it meant mum’s last memories would be seeing these cherished photos.

The Prospect Hospice nurses really made mum feel at ease and that she was in control of the little time she had left and what she wanted.

Every day I got a phone call from the Prospect@Home team asking if we would like one of their team to sit in overnight.

We did and for the next five nights we had a lovely nurse or healthcare assistant stay overnight. They were a massive lifeline for me and mum.

I never went to bed, I sat all night but just knowing they were there to support me gave me great relief. We talked all night, we played mum music, and I was shown how to give mum mouth care during the day. I was encouraged to reposition mum’s face, brush her hair, and I know that mum knew I was there doing all this for her.

We also had an amazing clinical nurse specialist from Prospect Hospice who called in each day to ensure mum’s pain relief was enough, to check that we were ok and all was going as well as could be.

Mum had told me she wasn’t scared to die but she didn’t want to go alone. She passed away on Saturday 3 November 2018 at about 2pm. I was sat with her playing her music and her favourite song by The Stylistics  – You Make Me Feel Brand New – was playing.

Bereavement support

After mum’s funeral I was sat at home clearing away the sympathy cards when I re-read a card from the clinical nurse specialist and the Prospect Team, which said ‘don’t forget to look after you and if you need us we are here for you,’ with the email address for the bereavement team.

I took up the offer of bereavement support because I simply didn’t know who to talk to; I felt so lost.

I had a session once a week at the hospice for about five weeks.  I absolutely poured my heart out, we shared tears, laughs and the bereavement support worker made me understand how I was feeling. She taught me techniques to deal with emotions and helped answer questions I had.

She listened, she talked and she made me reason with myself.

I will be forever grateful to Prospect Hospice for the care and compassion they gave to mum and I. This enabled mum to pass peacefully at home as she wished, surrounded by the people who loved her dearly.

Although I was aware of Prospect Hospice at the time mum was ill, I didn’t know it offered an at home service.

The service Prospect Hospice offers is second to none and to say they know their stuff is an understatement.

After all this happened to me I have gone on to do my care practitioner programme and I would like to train to become a nurse.

Palliative care is now my passion.

Let’s never be afraid to talk about dying or our final wishes. Let’s treat people with dignity and give them the respect they deserve in their final hours on this earth.

Diana and Michael Brewer on their wedding day


A young Carly with her mother
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