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18 Oct 2019 Personal Stories

Anne’s story

At Kirkwood, we are here to support anyone affected by a life limiting illness, whenever and wherever they need it most. In May 2018, Jack Rowley and his wife, Anne, were given some devastating news. Here Anne tells us about the difference Kirkwood’s Community Palliative Care Team made for her husband.

In September 2015, 79-year-old Jack Rowley, from Cleckheaton, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Then in May 2018, he and his wife, Anne, were told that he had bowel cancer.

After a short burst of treatment, Jack and his family were given the devastating news that his illness had become terminal.

Anne said: “Jack was really struggling with his pain. We couldn’t seem to get his medication right.

“Jack’s sister is a district nurse in Huddersfield and she told us to get in touch with Kirkwood, but I was really hesitant as I thought it was only for people who are at the end of their life.

“I kept putting it to the back of my mind, but Jack’s sister was persistent and kept asking if I had spoken to Kirkwood.

“Shortly after, she told me that she had called Kirkwood herself and they were expecting a call from me, so I decided to give them a call to find out how they could support Jack.”

Following the phone call, Kirkwood’s Community Palliative Care Team stepped in to help. Specialist Dementia Nurse for end of life care, Rachel Guest, and Community Nurse Specialist, Sharon Green, spoke to Anne and Jack and went out to see them at home. 

Anne and Jack Rowley

 Jack with his grandchildren


“When Kirkwood came on board, I just felt a weight lifted from our shoulders.

“They sorted Jack’s medication straight away, which helped with his pain. He got a bed in the lounge, a commode and a chair lift; all of the care he needed was suddenly there for us at home.

“Sharon and Rachel worked together as a team.”

Jack and Anne’s daughters, Julie and Tracy, were also grateful for the help Kirkwood was able to offer. 

Julie said: “Dad loved Rachel, she was fantastic. He could have a laugh with both Rachel and Sharon when they visited him. They were always there at the end of the phone if we needed anything.”

Anne added: “I always stayed by Jack’s side, but I remember that one day Rachel came and said she would sit with him while I had a shower, which was brilliant.”

A month before Jack died, he was admitted in to Pinderfields Hospital for one week. He also spent two weeks as a patient at Dewsbury Hospital for support with his illness.

Anne said: “Jack wanted to die at home. I knew he wanted to be discharged from the hospital, but he struggled to speak, so my daughters called Sharon for advice.

“Sharon and Rachel really helped to get him home, which I am so grateful for.”

Jack was discharged from Dewsbury Hospital on Tuesday 20th November so he could spend his last few days at home in accordance with his wishes.

“As soon as Jack came home, he was so relaxed and peaceful.”

Jack died in the comfort of his own home six days later on Monday 26th November 2018.

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