Owen Mor Care Home staff are ‘Earth angels’

A woman whose mother passed away in Owen Mor care home last month has praised staff for the dignity and respect they show to their patients.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 1:09 pm

Amiee Patterson described the staff who cared for her late mother as ‘Earth angels’.

Amiee’s mum was diagnosed with the incredibly rare neurological disorder Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) a decade ago, when she was in her late 40s.

PSP is a rare, progressive condition that can cause problems with balance, movement, vision, speech and swallowing.

Amiee Patterson with her late mum, Bridget 'BB' McLaughlin, and her son Quinn

It is believed there are just 4,000 cases of the condition in the UK.

However, the life limiting disorder is extremely difficult to diagnose and the symptoms are similar to other neurological conditions, so the actual figures may be much higher.

Bridget ‘BB’ McLaughlin, who was originally from Limavady but married a Derry man and raised her family in the city, was first admitted to Owen Mor in 2016. She sadly passed away in February, when she was just 59.

During the Covid pandemic Amiee, like so many others with loved ones in care homes, was unable to visit her mother. “I was able to go and see her through the window, and later on when things eased I had a few face to face visits with her.

“My Mum’s needs had increased dramatically during that time, but the staff down there were just fantastic. Even though she couldn’t communicate very well because of the condition, I knew by the way she presented that she was happy and being cared for in the best possible way.

“It was a massive relief during that time when I couldn’t see her face to face,” Amiee added. “The staff down there became her family and did everything for her.”

The Waterside woman said that one particular member of staff, a nurse named Ivy, regularly rang her with updates about her mother.

“Ivy would have spent as long as necessary on the phone talking to me and really made me feel like my mammy was like a member of her own family.

“She made me feel like I was the only person she was doing this for, but I have since become aware she was doing this for the families of all the residents in that unit.

“I really appreciated these calls, it made the care my mammy was receiving feel so personal to me too.”

The family were always aware that PSP was a life limiting condition and Amiee was able to be with her mother in her final days. She was able to see how loved and cared for her mother was in Owen Mor.

“It was such a blessing to be able to be with her during that time and the care I saw my mother receive was unbelievable.

“It gave me so much peace to know that during that time when I couldn’t be there my mammy was completely cared for. The staff, who are under such pressure, dedicated so much to the residents.”

Amiee said she wanted to share her positive experience of the care home to reassure other family members who have loved ones in care homes or are about to enter a care home.

“As much as the staff are under pressure, the residents are getting all the care they need. The staff are Earth angels, they are just unbelievable. They treat the residents with such dignity and respect.”