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12 Mar 2020 Personal Stories

“The fact that there is a specialist role for Dementia at Kirkwood is wonderful”

At Kirkwood, we are here to support anyone affected by a life limiting illness, whenever and wherever they need it most. In 2014, Harold Greenwood, of Honley, was diagnosed with Dementia. Here, his daughter, Cathryn James, tells us about the difference Kirkwood’s Specialist Dementia Nurse made for her Dad.

During the first three years of living with Dementia, Harold was cared for in his own home in Honley by his wife, and supported by children, Cathryn, and her three brothers.

Over the years, Harold began struggling with the symptoms of his condition including multiple falls, frailty and challenging behaviour, so the difficult decision was made for Harold to be moved into a Care Home.

Cathryn said: “For us as a family, Dad’s comfort was an absolute priority. He would not have wanted to go to hospital and would, like many of us, not have wanted to end his days in a care home or hospital bed.

“After nearly three years in the care home, we noticed Dad was sleeping more, eating less, and generally deteriorating overall.  Knowing that Dad was now probably nearing the end of his life, I decided to seek support from Kirkwood.

 Cathryn's Dad, Harold Greenwood

“In November 2019, I called Kirkwood’s 24/7 advice line. I was so surprised when I was told that Kirkwood had a dedicated Specialist Dementia Nurse who would be able to support my Dad.”

A few days after Cathryn first made contact with Kirkwood, Specialist Dementia Nurse, Rachel Guest, arranged a meeting with Cathryn where they discussed Harold’s current condition and wishes.

Cathryn said: “After Rachel assessed Dad, she helped to coordinate lots of things including the palliative medication that he might need. Rachel helped us revise and reinforce care plans and the wishes of how Dad would spend his final days.”

Going the extra mile, Rachel supported the care home staff to enable them to provide the very best care for Harold.

“Rachel was a big support for Dad and me. She was a fixer, a coordinator and was always available, friendly and helpful. Rachel kept me well informed, answered difficult questions as best she could (although we agreed nature had to take its course). I was reassured and informed about Dad’s care at all times.”

Six years after his diagnosis of dementia, Harold died peacefully, aged 90, on the 10th January 2020.

Cathryn said: “The fact that there is a specialist role for Dementia at Kirkwood is wonderful.

“The care and support was there for not only my Dad, but for our family and the care home staff too. I would say to anyone, don’t be frightened to start to have discussions at an early stage for anyone with or anyone caring for someone living with dementia. Kirkwood now has a nurse to help you through it all and will put plans in place in line with your wishes.”

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