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8 Oct 2019 Personal Stories

Margaret’s story

After being diagnosed with end-stage Emphysema two years ago, Margaret Broadbent of Cleckheaton has been receiving care at home from Kirkwood’s Community Nurse, Sharon Green. After a two week stay on Kirkwood’s In-Patient Unit before being discharged to continue her care at home, Margaret tells us what a difference Kirkwood has made to her quality of life.

Margaret lives at home with Malcolm, her husband of 53 years. She says that Malcolm is the love of her life and makes her laugh every single day – even after half a century of marriage.

The couple have always supported Kirkwood when they could, mainly by donating clothes to their local Kirkwood shop in Cleckheaton. They never really thought that they might rely on Kirkwood’s support one day.

72-year-old Margaret has also been living with a chronic lung condition (COPD) for the past 15 years. In 2017, she was diagnosed with end-stage Emphysema.

When receiving her initial COPD diagnosis, Margaret was told that she only had five years to live. She’s refused to let her condition get the better of her and she believes that her determination and strength of character has helped her to defeat the odds.

After being diagnosed with end-stage Emphysema, Margaret was admitted to Pinderfields Hospital with pneumonia in 2018. That’s when Kirkwood’s Community Nurse, Sharon Green, became involved with her care.

Margaret said:  “Before I had Sharon supporting me, my care was limited. But within weeks, Sharon organised for me to have a hospital bed, a commode, a table with wheels, a wheelchair and walking stick all in my own home.

“She co-ordinated everything for me and even arranged for the district nurses to visit me.

“I just felt like I had back up when Sharon got involved. She gave me her number and the 24/7 Advice Line so I could call anytime I needed to.

“My Husband, Malcolm, has always helped me, we help each other, but he has his own ailments too such as Polio and Osteoporosis, so to have the support from Sharon has made a big difference to our lives.”

In late September, Margaret was struggling to cope with the symptoms of her illness, so she contacted her district nurse. Through the support of both the district nursing team and Kirkwood Nurse, Sharon, she was able to get the help she needed, when she really needed it.

 Kirkwood's Community Nurse, Sharon Green, with Margaret. 


Margaret said: “The Sunday before my admission, I was really struggling. I thought I was dying.

“I immediately called my district nurses who visited and gave me some diamorphine. The next day, Sharon saw on my notes that the district nurses had been to see me and she called me straight away to ask if she could come and see me.

“When she arrived, she asked if I wanted to go to the Hospice. I have always been hesitant about the Hospice as I was worried that it would make me feel sad and depressed, but it isn’t like that at all.

“The only reason why I went to Kirkwood was because of Sharon, she told me it would be good and that the team would help tweak my medication. Sharon also said there was no pressure and if I didn’t like it then I could go home again.”

Just a few days later, Margaret was admitted to Kirkwood’s In-Patient Unit where she was offered support from Kirkwood’s team of dedicated Nurses and Physiotherapists. The team carefully monitored her care plan, helping with her medication and supporting her with breathing techniques to improve her quality of life in preparation for when she was able to go home again.

Margaret said: “The Nurses have been marvellous. They are never too busy for anything.

“I was even been able to have a shower every day! Before going to Kirkwood, I hadn’t had a shower for six months. My husband did an excellent job before, but it just isn’t the same. I just feel so fresh and clean now.

“After losing two stone with my condition, I have become very self-conscious about my body, so the thought of having someone help me shower made me feel very nervous. But the Nurses made me feel so at ease. They took small steps to make sure I was okay and comfortable.”

Margaret loves art and is an avid reader, something which the team at Kirkwood noticed soon after her admission. Following a conversation with Therapy Assistant Jinette, Margaret quickly had her own Colouring Book, and a set of watercolour pencils.

Margaret said: “When I am colouring, it takes my mind off things, it relaxes me.

“The team are always looking at my care plan which makes me feel at ease. I feel like a different person to when I was first admitted.

“I was also pushed around the beautiful gardens in my wheelchair. This year, I have only been out of the house once and that was for an appointment. I am just so exhausted and breathless that tasks have become a struggle. So to be able to go outside in my wheelchair means so much to me.

“The Physiotherapists also helped me with techniques for making breathing easier.

“Being at Kirkwood really cheered me up. I have met so many lovely people. I would say to anyone: don’t be afraid of Kirkwood or the word ‘Hospice’. When you’re there it is full of smiles and laughter.”

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