While staff working on Myton’s two Inpatient Units over Christmas will be trying to make patients and their families’ Christmas Day as memorable as possible, and as homely as they can, Myton at Home nurses will be out in the community on 25th December visiting people who have chosen to spend their last days and weeks at home.
Our Rugby Myton at Home nurses Faye and Nicola tell us what Christmas is like for them:
Our patients are in the last two to four weeks of their lives. Some people and their families choose not to celebrate Christmas at all. The family sometimes want to wait until after their loved one has died before celebrating. It doesn’t always feel like Christmas even on Christmas Day, or we’ll have eaten too many mince pies – it’s different every day, for every person.
It’s heavy to think that this is our patients’ last Christmas. Christmas for us is definitely harder and very quiet because most other people aren’t working and services aren’t running. But it is what we make it; we try and keep our office festive and cheery but out in the community it depends whether it’s appropriate. And when we go out into the community on Christmas Day to work it’s who you work with which makes it.
You leave your family and kids at home but know that you get to go home at night and be with them; it puts it all into perspective, you appreciate what you’ve got even more.
I think it’s a nice thing to be at home with your family, if it’s going to be your last Christmas then it’s an important choice and you get to make it. It’s hard for the family but we make it as special as possible. Christmas will never be the same when a loved one dies because the family will always have that memory, but that person has made their decision about where they want to die.
Faye and Nicola have lots of special memories of patients which have stayed with them over the last 7 years since the service was introduced:
There was a lady who celebrated in March – she had her tree up and they had an early Christmas because she knew she wouldn’t be alive for Christmas. Some families won’t want us to go in because it’s encroaching on their last Christmas, whereas others you will be the only person they see that day because they don’t have any family to spend it with.
We cared for another lady in the run up to Christmas and she and her family managed to go to Winter Wonderland in London through Make a Wish. She died a couple of days later but it was lovely that they got to do that as a family and make those memories.
Our Myton at Home service runs 365 days a year and enables patients to die at home and for them and their families to be supported.