Joe, Alberto and Elvira’s story
Joseph Delmanso, Alberto Delmanso and Elvira Hilton, who are originally from Trench, have experienced firsthand the difference Hospice care can make. Here they talk about the care their mother, Stelvia Delmanso, received at our Hospice in Telford.
Elvira: Mum was a character, she came over from Italy and she had this lovely broken English and Italian accent. She learnt English herself, she didn’t go to night school or anything.
When you look back you don’t realise how many friends she had. They’ve all got a story about how good she was to them. She worked long hours at the Wrekin College in Wellington and even the master turned up at the funeral as they had respect for her.
It does our hearts good to know that she was so well loved, so well respected and such a funny character.
Joe: I was a bit mixed when I heard the word ‘hospice’. I hadn’t been in it and I’d had very little information on it. I felt it was some where people went and had their last few days and died.
Elvira: It was just a word.
Alberto: I just thought it was an extension of hospital which gave that little bit extra care.
Joe: I have friends that actually fundraise for the Hospice and they sat me down and explained what it meant and what happened here.
When we first got here I heard one of the nurses say ‘We’ve put her in room 7 as it’s a bigger room and she’s got a big family’. Straight away it was consideration for the patient and the family members.
Elvira: Within the first half an hour of my mum being here the nurses put her at ease and straight away they thought about us. We automatically went to help get my mum into bed; we were doing what we had been doing for eight weeks. They took over and told us ‘We’re here now’, and it was like we could let go of the reins. They told us to go and get some rest and that they will look after her. It was letting go gently.
Joe: Any questions we had, the nurses answered. Doctor DeSilva was the first person to see my mum. We sat down and we chatted. She explained what she tried to do with sympathy and compassion.
I think my mother had only been in a couple of nights, and to see the difference from her being at home and us trying to look after her.
Elvira: I think you have to experience the Hospice because no words can describe how fantastic the nurses are and how they care, even the volunteers making tea and coffee. They really are angels, nothing is too much trouble. We’ve got the peace of mind that my mother died with dignity and she had one-to-one care.
Alberto: At a sad time you couldn’t wish for better for any human being.
Joe: I was overwhelmed after my mother passed away in the early hours of the morning. I was moved into the family room for the remaining hours of the morning whilst they prepared my mum. The room she went in, I couldn’t envisage such a place. The sheets, the bed, everything, the dignity was unbelievable. To me it was the ultimate in care and professionalism. The nurses are angels, and unique because there aren’t many people who could do what they do.
Alberto: It’s not just a job to them.
Elvira: We wanted to give something back to say thank you. My mum was only here for nine days, but it was nine days of painless cancer whereas at home it was uncomfortable, and it was hurting us to see my mum in pain. At home we had to wait for doctors to come to the house whereas at the Hospice anything she needed she got straight away.
Joe: After a couple of nights being here we went out for a cigarette and my sister said ‘I’m going to donate £500’ and I said ‘We’ll put in £500 each’.
Alberto: £1500 between the three of us, when you think about the care she got, seems peanuts really. No way in this world could you have paid for the care she got. Whatever you donate you’ve seen firsthand where it’s going.
Joe: Someone had to do something to have the funds in position for my mother to have that bed, and now the funds are there for someone else to have the care, whatever the outcome.
Alberto: It allows the family to have that last week, two weeks, whatever time is left. It gave us that quality time with my mum. We couldn’t have had that at home. I know it was only nine days, but it felt like you had a lifetime talking to your mum going through things. You didn’t feel like anything was rushed, and it was quality time.