How an Admiral Nurse helped my mum stay out of hospital
Lisa Evans describes how the support of nurse Pam Kehoe has helped her cope with her mother's dementia
I am the full-time carer for my mum Marguerita and now live with her. She has Alzheimer’s and was diagnosed in 2011. I promised her I would always look after her and she is now in the last stages of this cruel illness.
Over the past 3 years mum has spent weeks in Tameside Hospital in Ashton-under-Lyne due to falls and infections. I had some terrible experiences and she always ended up coming home very confused. Last February mum, who is now 78, was yet again admitted to hospital but this time was different: nurse Pam Kehoe came and introduced herself. From that day my life changed.
I'd never had any help and nobody understood what I was going through. Pam, an Admiral Nurse, supported both of us during mum’s stay in hospital. She became my friend and called me every morning at 8am. I’ve cried down the phone when I thought I couldn't carry on but Pam gave me strength. She has taught me so many coping techniques.
I never knew about advanced care plans and ‘do not resuscitate’ forms. Pam has helped me put all this into place and shown me mum doesn't need to be in hospital for a urinary tract or chest infection. Mum’s not been in hospital since.
Last year, we decided to open a memory cafe. At first it was Pam and me as well as Ivy, who is 82 and who Pam also supports. I am proud to say we now have about 30 members without even advertising in the community.
Pam has changed dementia care in the hospital – she has introduced carers’ 'passports' and ‘this is me’ cards. Every ward has a dementia champion. She does so much. I now help Pam support families in the community who are caring for a loved one.
I can honestly say from the bottom of my heart I don't know where I would be today without Pam.
Pam has changed me as a person, and I want to thank her for helping and listening to me. She is a credit to her profession and an asset to Tameside Hospital.
With Pam's support, I am now an ambassador for Dementia UK. Mum would be so proud.