Neil Edwards, husband of cancer victim Jayne Edwards (49) who died in September, has spoken out after his wife suffered unnecessary stress after being told she'd have to wait five weeks to have a stairlift fitted at home, when she knew she had less than that to live.
Acorn heard about Jayne's plight through her local Gloucester media and installed a bespoke, curved stairlift the following day. Tragically, Jayne died of brain and breast cancer before being able to use the stairlift.
Neil, of Churchdown in Gloucestershire, has now called for better awareness amongst health care professionals of the options available to families who are wanting to care for relatives at home.
"It was my wife's last wish to be able to get upstairs with dignity and relative ease when we were nursing her at home," explained Neil. "When we were told by one supplier that we'd have a five week wait, we didn't know any different - it was sheer luck that Acorn heard about our story.
"The health care professionals who supported us were fantastic, but if we'd have known that there were other options available, we'd have felt empowered to try elsewhere."
Sue Ryder Clinical Nurse Specialist Valerie Bone who works in the community as part of a multi-disciplinary team to support patients who want to prolong their care at home, said it's important that patients and their carers are advised on which medications, support services and equipment will make their lifestyle at home comfortable during an illness or the last stages of life.
"Patients can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the choices available and it is important to help them take the best decision to suit their personal needs. Too much choice can make it confusing and stressful for the patient," she explains. "Being able to act quickly is important for patients with complex care and support needs and knowing that access to something as life enhancing as a stairlift the following day can be is invaluable."
At the request of Neil Edwards, Jayne's stairlift has now been donated to Manorlands, the Sue Ryder Hospice in Keighley, just miles from the Acorn manufacturing plant in Steeton, North Yorkshire.
Sue Ryder is a national charity providing health and social care services in local communities. Every year, eight thousand Sue Ryder volunteers offer a total of four million hours of care to those who need it. Help support Sue Ryder by visiting their website and taking part.