I am writing on behalf of my family, to express the wonderful care given to my mam in the final days of her life, and to show our gratitude to the wonderful group of nurses and staff who we will never forget.

Elizabeth McAleavey was admitted to the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven on the 22nd November 2019. She was undergoing treatment for terminal cancer, and sadly was taken seriously ill. We lost her 2 days later on the 24th November.

Every single one of the nurses on the Coronary Care Unit at the West Cumberland treated my mam with professionalism, kindness and dignity. When she needed injections, they apologised that it was going to sting slightly, regardless of the fact we didn’t know if she could hear or not. They made her comfortable in bed, even to the extent of giving her flavoured mouth wipes and lip balm every couple of hours.

They cared so greatly for our family, myself, my brother, sister in law, and her own mother, sister and brother. Bringing us fresh water, tea, coffee, trays of sandwiches and anything else we needed on a constant basis. All of our questions were answered with patience, and ensuring we were involved in all parts of her care. This was absolutely invaluable to us.

I’m not sure without the help of the nurses, Kate Callender, Estelle Hodges and Julie Leech (and the many other Healthcare Assistants) I would have found the strength to make it through those final days. Estelle helped me set up a recliner, so that I could be as close to her as possible and stay with her throughout the night. On one occasion, when her brother was with her and needed to nip out of the room for no more than 5 minutes, Estelle went as far as sitting with my mam until he came back, to ensure she was never left alone.

I lost count of the amount of times Estelle consoled me, especially when I really fell to pieces and could barely stand, she held me up. She spoke to me with compassion and sadness in her eyes and I could tell how much she truly cared. I showed her photos of me and mam, talked about the person she was and how much she meant to us. Nothing was too much trouble for the nurses, when we requested a Catholic Priest to visit my mam and pray for her, our wish was granted within a couple of hours.

Her last few hours with us were so unbelievably heart breaking, but we found comfort in the unbreakable care my mam received. I was able to be with her when she passed away, and this will stay with me forever. For this, to the nurses and staff on the unit at the Coronary Care Unit, I am eternally grateful.

Laura Henney

Ashley Way, Egremont