Charity care navigator helped Honiton couple by giving valuable support

Stella and Alfred Ford.

Stella and Alfred Ford. - Credit: Archant

A Honiton woman has told her story about how a charity gave her ill husband amazing support before he died.

Stella Ford’s husband Alfred was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), an illness which leaves a patient increasingly breathless.

Alfred had been hospitalised for more than four months, and Stella spent up to nine hours a day visiting him.

Eventually, Alfred came home, thanks to the local hospital kitting-out the Fords’ home with a hospital bed, hoist, and all the equipment needed for Stella to look after him. At this stage, Alfred could no longer stand up and was bed bound.

As Alfred’s main carer, Stella cared for him, 24-hours-a-day, without any respite.

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Stella said: “It was exhausting, I was on call 24 hours a day for Alfred. When my friend explained that Hospiscare might be able to help and we got referred, it was such a relief.

“Hospiscare put us in touch with one of their care navigators, Peter Hill. The navigators help you with the practicalities of life and Peter would come and sit with Alfred so I could get out and take a break. Without Peter’s help I wouldn’t have got out as much as I did.

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“I managed to get into Exeter a couple of times to have lunch and go shopping with my daughter, which was amazing as, before Hospiscare got involved, I didn’t go anywhere.”

She added: “The evening Alfred died I was with him and so were the children. I was catching hold of his hands when he went.

“It was special to be at home where we all feel so comfortable.

“There is no way I would have wanted it to be any different.

“When I called the funeral director after Alfred died I said I wanted to keep Alfred at home with me that night until the morning. I wasn’t ready to let him go and watch the hearse take him away. I needed a bit of time to prepare for that.

“Even now Hospiscare are still helping me. You don’t feel like you are out on a limb with nobody there. It’s the little touches that make a difference. I still go along to the carers’ group they run that I went to when Alfred was alive.

“Peter has been in to check on how I’m doing. They had a service for carers over at Feniton church and it’s a comfort to talk to people who are in the same boat as you.”

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