Saint Francis Hospice

Saint Francis Hospice x West Ham United

When John was diagnosed with dementia, Nuala gave up her job to care for her beloved Pops at home. She did not know Saint Francis Hospice could support people with dementia, but Nuala tells us how the Hospice at Home 'angels' made a difference in the final weeks of her Dad’s life...


My Pops was the gentlest of men, a true gentleman in every sense of the word. He was born and raised in Athboy, a small town in County Meath, Ireland. He came to the UK in the 1950s as a young man, having lost his own Dad at the age of six and his Mum by the age of 12.  

He worked hard all his life.  He had the best sense of humour, and there was never a dull moment in his company.  I would be woken most mornings by the sound of his whistling.  He was loved and respected by all who knew him and adored by his family. He married my Mum in 1959 and that was the start of one amazing love story that lasted 64 years. 

John with his daughter NualaDad was 80 when he was diagnosed with dementia in 2012. It is dreadful to watch someone you love die of dementia.  Amazingly, he always knew me and Mum and my husband. He used to call Mum 'Flower' and he would say ‘Nu, where is Flower?’ Once he could see her face and my face, life was good.

Christmas 2019 was our last Christmas together.

It was at this time that a friend of mine mentioned Saint Francis Hospice. I had no idea the hospice had a ‘Hospice at Home’ team, or that they dealt with dementia patients. In my mind, it was always cancer patients. I therefore took the plunge and made the call right after New Year. From the start of that phone call to the very end, I was shown compassion and love.  

The lovely Lillian was the first lady across the door and into our lives. She was the nurse who came to do an assessment. I desperately hoped she would tell us that my Pops wasn’t ready for hospice at home care /palliative care and that we still had a long way to go. Sadly, it was not the case.  A two-week timeframe was given and almost two weeks to the day, on 18 January 2020 at 3.20pm my darling Pops closed his eyes forever. The worst day of mine and my Mummy’s lives.

Saint Francis Hospice

During the final two weeks, we had a flurry of the most wonderful ladies – Julie, Karen, Lena, Anne and Lilian – coming into our home. They enabled my Mum to be a wife and me a daughter again, not just Dad's carers. Kindness, love, happiness, sadness every emotion anyone can muster up, were felt and experienced during that fortnight. 


Making life the best it can be

Saint Francis Hospice specialises in providing care for any person, from any faith or cultural background, who have been diagnosed with a serious illness who are living in Havering, Brentwood, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge or West Essex. Saint Francis Hospice offers experienced, compassionate advice and support.

The hospice works alongside GPs, community nurses and hospital specialists to help manage pain and other difficult symptoms, with an aim for comfort, as much independence as possible, and the best possible quality of life. The hospice team also provides care for people at the end of life, at home and at the hospice.

With family and friends often providing the bulk of care for someone who is nearing the end of life, the Hospice are there to stand by their sides, supporting with experience and care.

Individuals in the Hospice’s care, and the people who love them, are embraced by a team of experienced professionals who are devoted to making everyone's life the very best it can be, so no-one dies or grieves alone.

Saint Francis Hospice QR CodeBecause Saint Francis Hospice is an independent charity, there is no cost for their services. Kind and generous gifts from local people, companies and schools help make sure that everyone who is under the care of Saint Francis Hospice has round-the-clock support.

To provide this dedicated and expert care, the hospice needs to raise over £8 million each year because only 28% of our costs are paid by the Government. Over 850 skilled and committed volunteers support the Hospice’s work. These wonderful people help keep costs down and bring huge joy and support to those who need our care, their loved ones, families, staff and volunteers.

With your help, we can continue to support families throughout the most difficult time of their lives, just as we did for John, his lovely daughter Nuala and his beautiful wife his ‘Flower’. If you can please use the QR code to make a donation.