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30 Aug 2019 Personal Stories

“Kirkwood has helped my Grandma to get her life back”

After being diagnosed with an aggressive form of Cancer back in February, Jane Gledhill has been receiving care and support from Kirkwood Community Nurse Specialist Fiona Marshall at her home in Paddock. With the support of her granddaughter, Josie, and her amazing neighbours, 89 year old Jane has been able to get back to living the active life she loves.

20 year old Josie, from Waterloo, is in her final year of training to become an Occupational Therapist. In January 2019 she spent her six week work placement at Kirkwood Hospice, working on the In-patient unit and in the Support & Therapy team.

It was during Josie’s work placement that she first became aware of the care Kirkwood provided in her local community.

Josie said: “I worked with many patients at various stages of their lives on my placement and it opened my eyes to both positive and difficult situations, which helped me appreciate the services that Kirkwood has to offer.”

Shortly after completing her placement, Josie’s Grandma, Jane, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that couldn’t be treated.

Jane was struggling with pain and realised her daily life was being impacted, stopping her from enjoying the things she loved the most, including going out with friends and family, baking and dancing to her favourite music.

 Jane and Josie celebrating Jane's birthday.


This is when Kirkwood stepped in with Kirkwood’s Community Nurse Specialist Fiona visiting Jane at her home in Paddock.

Josie said: “It was concluded that grandma would be treated through palliative care services to help her manage symptoms with this disease.

“Although I had recently completed a placement with Kirkwood, it was initially alarming to hear that a hospice was involved with my grandma.

“My knowledge about Kirkwood Hospice within the community was limited and I made up the worst case scenario in my head about what to expect with Kirkwood's involvement. After meeting Fiona once, my ideas were completely turned around and I instantly felt at ease with her.

“Fiona made it very clear about what her role was in my grandma's care and how she could help, and under the direction of Fiona, myself and grandma’s neighbours, Pat and Andrea, we worked with new medications to help find the right dose to manage grandmas complicated symptoms.”

With the support from those closest to Jane’s care, Josie noticed that her grandma’s pain reduce very quickly.

Josie said: “Grandma is now pain free 90% of the time, and with Kirkwood’s help, we have been able to get grandma back to living the active life she loves.

“Fiona has been a saviour in all of this and I reinforce that my grandma’s journey would not have been the same without her support.

“From a family member’s perspective it's warming to know that you can depend on Fiona and other members of the Kirkwood team for guidance and reassurance through both the 24/7 advice line and home visits; nothing is ever too much trouble.

“You only have to spend five minutes with my grandma to see how positive she is as a person despite the difficult times she has had all through her life.”

Jane’s response to her medication and pain management has been so notable that she will be temporarily discharged from Kirkwood so she can continue to enjoy the things she loves.

Jane said: “I’ve got a lot to live for. I love music and I love dancing.”

Josie added: “Fiona and Kirkwood have helped my grandma to get her life back. Me and my grandma are able to enjoy our time together again as a family, which I will never be able to thank Kirkwood enough for.”

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