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10 Jan 2020 Community

Kirkwood is there for you when you need it most

At Kirkwood, the whole team works together to support anyone affected by a life limiting illness to live the best quality of life possible. When Steven Atkinson began struggling with his mental health and the symptoms associated with Motor Neurone Disease, the care and support of Kirkwood’s Multi-Disciplinary Team was just what he needed.

Steven Atkinson, of Fixby, was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease three years ago. Having struggled with his mental and emotional health, as well as the symptoms of his condition, Steven’s GP put him in touch with Kirkwood Community Nurse, Moyra Wilson-Grant.

Both Steven’s GP and Moyra recommended that Steven be admitted to Kirkwood’s In-Patient Unit to help him with his symptoms and also support him with his wellbeing.

Steven was admitted onto the In-Patient Unit back in November 2019, where the team helped him to get his symptoms under control. He spent 12 days being cared for by the Kirkwood team before returning home with his family.

Steven said: “I didn’t want to go at first. But after I had a visit from my GP and she told me it would do me good, I decided to accept the invitation.

“I’m so glad I did because it was five-star luxury, it was perfect. The people, the facilities, everything; it was unbelievable. It far outweighed my expectations. Even the food was amazing.”

During Steven’s stay at Kirkwood, he accessed support from the Family Care Team, who helped him to talk about his insecurities and anxiety which his condition were causing.

Steven said: “I saw the Family Care Team about five times over the period I was in. I’d met Bridget earlier in my diagnosis, so it was a face I knew and that relaxed me. The support I had was unbelievable, that’s the biggest thing.

“Going down to Kirkwood was like a military operation as my breathing is my biggest fear. I get really anxious and start panicking, but once we’d done it one way we managed coming back just fine.”

Spending time on the In-Patient Unit enabled Steven and his family to enjoy time together. His children came to visit every day at tea time and his wife, Christine, spent every evening with Steven.

Steven and his wife, Christine


Christine said: “I ate there every night because there was nobody at home. I didn’t bother cooking because the food was so good.”

Steven added: “Being able to eat together meant that we got to spend more time together as well. The staff were absolutely 100% amazing.

“I had all the creature comforts that I have at home. I was in a safe environment where people cared. They show they care and they look after you extremely well.”

Since Steven’s stay on the In-Patient Unit, Kirkwood Social Worker, Jenny McGowan, has helped the family to access extra funding to help Steven with his care at home. The Family Care Team and Kirkwood Nurse Moyra are also working together to ensure Steven receives the emotional support he needs in the future.

Steven said: “I couldn’t recommend Kirkwood more highly. It’s nothing to be frightened of and you get well looked after. It’s a beautiful place.”

Christine added: “At the time, Steven wanted as near to a home environment as he could possibly get and he got one.”

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