Hospice praised for their incredible support of local families

Posted 4th June 2024

A Northampton woman whose terminally ill father was cared for at Cynthia Spencer Hospice has praised the service for the incredible care and support they provide for families.

Natalie Bygraves’ father Alan was a patient at the hospice in his final weeks and said he was always happy to be admitted as kind staff “made him feel safe”.

Alan, who had multiple system atrophy, even had visits from Cynthia Spencer Hospice’s dedicated palliative care consultant Dr Bhav when he was in a local care home.

At Christmas in 2019, Alan was brought to Cynthia Spencer Hospice after a short spell in hospital. It was to be his fourth and final visit.

“It was his fourth visit, but he was so happy to be at the hospice,” said Natalie. “He felt so safe, and that people were really looking out for him.”

Alan stayed at the hospice for just over a week and then was discharged back to a local care home, where he died in February 2020.

“Even though dad didn’t pass away here, Cynthia Spencer just means the world to us,” said Natalie. “If it hadn’t been for the staff here at the hospice, I don’t think we would have coped as well as we did.

“We could come in at any time we wanted. Once when dad was really poorly, we all stayed overnight with him and they made sure we were ok and we got breakfast. They were brilliant with him. We were able to take him for a walk as well in the outdoor space which was just brilliant. They even let us bring the bed out so he could have some fresh air because obviously he was just cooped up in his bed and he couldn’t move.”

The year after Alan died, Natalie and her family brought sweets and chocolate into the hospice to give out to all of the patients’ children. The following year, they donated toiletries for patients who arrive at the hospice at short notice without any of their belongings.

Last year the family honoured all the staff with a lucky dip, including over 100 gifts.

Natalie said: “It’s just our way of saying thank you, but there’s just nothing that will make it better. We just want to show our appreciation and how we feel about Cynthia Spencer. The hospice means a lot to our whole family, to know Dad was here and he was cared for so well.

“It’s just an amazing place to be and even though it is a sad time for anybody at the end of their life, if Cynthia Spencer is an option, then it’s an option you should take because they look after the whole family, not just the patient. And that’s what you need, you need the whole family to be looked after.

“The staff are always smiling, and people are happy – it didn’t feel as sad as I thought it would. Every time you walked in someone would say hello and ask how you were. The support that we got as a family was just amazing and made everything as good as it could be at one of the hardest times of my whole life.”

Earlier this year, Cynthia Spencer Hospice launched a new, dynamic Make a Difference, Your Way campaign which aims to highlight the many different ways that people can contribute to the cause and support the charity, in a way that resonates with them, whether that be by volunteering their time, donating or fundraising money, or spreading the word. To find out more about how you can help, visit https://cynthiaspencer.org.uk//how-you-can-help-us/