Catherine's story

Catherine is a 50 year old wife and mother of one grown up daughter. She was diagnosed 10 years ago with Multiple Sclerosis and this has progressively become more difficult to manage as time has gone on.

Catherine was referred by her community nurse to the hospice for a period of emergency respite because the family were struggling to cope at home with her changing needs and the emotional impact this was having on everyone. The family situation had reached crisis point when Sandra, Catherine’s daughter and her main carer, was diagnosed with depression and could no longer sustain this level of care.

This situation caused anxiety, guilt and uncertainty within the family and there were concerns about Catherine’s ability to remain at home - which was her main wish.

This short admission to the hospice allowed the Family Care Service to become involved and work closely with the family to undertake a holistic assessment of their needs.

As no one within the family felt they were able to cope with Catherine’s complex care needs on return home, we were able to liaise with community services to put in place a robust care package so that Catherine could receive a high standard of care at home. Catherine was also referred to Solas for on-going support, which enabled her to continue to have access to nursing assessment and provided much needed respite for her husband and daughter.

Whilst this was happening emotional support was provided to Catherine’s husband and daughter regarding their current situation which helped them to feel reassured and confident that Catherine could be cared for at home and that the support would be on going.

Catherine herself was able to identify that she had concerns regarding her end of life care and had never discussed this with her family, or felt able to. As such spiritual support was provided to enable Catherine to make sense of her life and put essential plans in place for her future.

By supporting Catherine and her family in this way we were able to honour her wishes to remain at home and also give the family confidence to continue to care for her.