“When Val was told her cancer was terminal, one thing above everything was praying on her mind and making her anxious. She wanted to spend her final days in the house we had lived in for 30 years and to die surrounded by mementos of a happy life and the echoes of parties and family celebrations. If she couldn’t die at home she wanted to be in St Helena.
“The thought of being in the General upset her. The staff are kind and professional, but visiting is difficult. The thought of dying alone in a room full of strangers with just a curtain for privacy horrified her.
“When we were told about the My Care Choices Register I could see what a relief it was to Val. Somebody was listening to her wishes, they were being properly documented and available to any doctors treating her.
“As her illnesses progressed her medication became less effective and needed urgently reviewing, there were no beds available at St Helena so she was rushed into the General. The next morning the specialist told us that there was only one medication which might work and if that didn’t work we would have to let nature take its course. Then he said ‘I see that you wish to die at home, if we cannot help you I’ll see that you are taken home and all of the support you need is put in place.’ The effect on Val was electrifying, the stress and worry just melted away.
As it happens the new treatment worked and Val lived well for several months more. In the end, in common with the majority of those on the My Care Choices Register, Val died where she wanted, in my arms in the home she loved.”