At the Foyle Hospice, nothing is too much trouble

Ann with her mum Tess.

Ann with her mum Tess.

The daughter of a Derry woman who was given palliative care by the Foyle Hospice, said she can never thank the staff enough for controlling her mother’s pain.

Ann O’Doherty’s mother, Tess Cooley, passed away just a few weeks before Christmas last year. She was 86 years old.

“My main worry was Mammy’s pain,” said Anne. “I couldn’t bear her being in pain. She went into the Foyle Hospice for respite care and when she came out they had tweaked her pain driver. The hospice got her pain under control. I couldn’t have done that without them.”

Tess was a woman who “loved life,” her daughter explained.

“She cycled everywhere, she loved line dancing, ballroom dancing, swimming and walked everywhere,” she said.

However, when Tess’ husband Danny died in 2004, her family noticed the mother of six showing signs of dementia.

As her condition deteriorated Ann decided to care for her mother in her own home, with respite and palliative care from the Foyle Hospice and help from carers who visited four times a day.

“I remember Hannah Healy from the Foyle Hospice coming to the house,” recalled Ann. “From that day the Hospice were just amazing. And I began to realise that not only were they in the house to help my mum, but also to help me. Hannah would sit and talk with me and have some lunch. They helped me as much as they helped my mother.

“I remember one time when my daughter Amber bought me tickets for a concert in Belfast and the hospice arranged respite care as a surprise so that I could go and stay over night. The respite care gave us time to breathe. My mum loved being in the hospice and the staff all loved her. Everything was so easy and smooth. She could have her hair and her nails done. When I visited her, when she was in for respite, I could take her a walk right around the gardens. She was so strong. She wanted to be independent. She would never lie down to her illness.

“She was just a great mother; she was just a lovely person, we miss her every day.

“The hospice was not the place that I was expecting it to be. Nothing is ever too much trouble.”

Ann said that her mother was touched by Bishop Daly’s regular visits to her mother’s bedside. “Her eyes lit up when she saw him come in,” she recalled. “He had that way with people,and Sister Anna.”