Morag Hobbs from Lanark grateful for her husband Mike's end of life care

End-of-life care is one of the most sensitive areas of health and care delivery, especially during what can be the hardest of times.
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Lanarkshire’s Community Nursing (End of Life care) service, led by South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership, recently won the Integrated Care category at the Scottish Health Awards for the team’s incredible work.

Morag Hobbs from Lanark is just one local who knows only too well how much the staff care. She lost her husband, Mike, to cancer on July 24 last year, aged 88.

Morag said: “It has been the most difficult of times. The loss is still raw.

Morag Hobbs will be forever grateful to Gailene and the team.Morag Hobbs will be forever grateful to Gailene and the team.
Morag Hobbs will be forever grateful to Gailene and the team.

“Mike was a gentle, quiet, incredibly clever man. He was a scientist and specialised in the development of fluid mechanics, and what is now known as green energy, during his career.

“In his retirement, he loved spending time with our family – our five grandchildren in particular. He was an exceptionally gifted craftsman and built harps and pianos. He also loved tending to our garden.

“Despite his illness, he was able to pass away in his own bed, overlooking the garden and watching the sun set over Lanark.

“The way Mike was able to live out the end of his life, thanks to these nurses, was an immense support and gave us the strength and peace to be fully present with him. That brings us huge comfort today.”

The team with their recent Scottish Health Award and inset Mike Hobbs, pictured with his grandaughter, who received exceptional care in his final days.The team with their recent Scottish Health Award and inset Mike Hobbs, pictured with his grandaughter, who received exceptional care in his final days.
The team with their recent Scottish Health Award and inset Mike Hobbs, pictured with his grandaughter, who received exceptional care in his final days.

Mike had been diagnosed with cancer in 2018. As his condition rapidly deteriorated laterally he spent time in the hospital. The community team, however, ensured his wish to pass away at home was met.

In cases similar to Mike’s, the service has adopted various strategies to make dying at home possible, whenever clinically feasible. This includes identifying and responding to any changes, including deteriorating symptoms, to avoid the need to transfer patients to a hospital.

“The nurses took a lot of the burden away from us,” said Morag, who has two sons and a daughter. “As Mike deteriorated, the nursing team were coming in from two to four times a day. That was wonderful for us. There was also no need to travel back and forth to the hospital, which I would have found very draining in itself.”

Gailene Cochrane, who manages the Lanark community nursing team, said: “We consider it a privilege to care for patients at the end of their lives, in their own homes. It is the families themselves who are providing all the emotional support to their loved ones. We are creating the comfort and conditions to allow that to happen.”

Morag added: "My husband actually passed on very quickly and very peacefully in the end. The nurse was there with us. We had called her earlier on. She was such a help. He died just exactly as he wanted in his own bed with his family beside him.

“Illness is not what anyone wants – but it was made better as this service is absolutely first class. The nurses are gold standard.”