We met Laura, in her room overlooking the courtyard on what could have been a summer’s afternoon even though it was autumn. She was enjoying some ice-cream, one of the things she could eat since she had been diagnosed with neck and throat cancer.

Initially our Hospice at Home team had looked after Laura at home but for the last three weeks she had been on the In-Patient Unit (IPU) for intensive round the clock care. Laura had originally gone to her GP after feeling unwell and noticing a spot on her tongue and after further tests it was sadly confirmed that her cancer was terminal.

After a happy childhood in Croydon Laura spent most of her life in Wallington. She worked as a PA before taking retirement. With her brothers living away, Laura’s best friend and constant companion for the last 19 years had been her cat, Harvey. The two of them had always had a special bond and when the time came for Laura to go to the Hospice she refused to, not wanting to leave an unwell Harvey on his own.

The Hospice at Home team returned to the Hospice and reviewed the situation with the team on the IPU and the decision was taken not to separate these life long friends. Hospice care is primarily about meeting the individual needs of a patient and providing tailored care based on what is most important to them. Harvey died shortly before Laura’s death in September 2019 but they had shared their final days together.

Read about patient Joe