Out of my depth

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  • Hi, my mum has a terminal cancer diagnosis and up until christmas has been mobile. However these past months her health has declined and at present she's in hospital. She is unable to bear her weight and cannot use a toilet. Where do I get a commode and mobility aids from? And I'm considering getting carers in as my step father has confessed that he's struggling. Where do I begin? I know she has her own Macmillan and hospice nurse but she is very secretive and stubborn so would not offer up their details easily. I don't know what to do or how to help. Please can someone advice?
  • Dear  ,

    Thank you for your getting in touch. I'm sorry to hear that your mum has a terminal cancer diagnosis and that her health has declined and she’s currently in hospital. I understand how difficult it can be watching a loved one go through an illness like this so I’m glad you know we are here to support you and your family at this time.

    Normally it would be the responsibility of your mum’s Macmillan nurse or hospice nurse to organise any additional support that is required to ensure your mum and your stepfather are fully supported at home, and this does include arranging carers and equipment such as a commode and mobility aids as you mention. However, given that mum is currently in hospital, it’s really important that you share your concerns with the hospital team as soon as possible to allow them to arrange the appropriate care package to be put in place prior to your mum being discharged. You can find out more about this from our Going home from Hospital booklet.

    Once mum is home, it is then the responsibility of the Macmillan nurse and hospice nurse to provide a holistic approach to your mum and to you all as a family so it may be worthwhile asking mum to share their contact details with you – I appreciate how difficult this can be when your loved one is reluctant to offer up these details though. Perhaps you could ask the hospital team to share, or encourage mum to share, the nurses’ details with you to allow you to fully support her on discharge? These nurses specialise in pain and symptom management as well as offering emotional support and helping to co-ordinate any additional care or equipment that is needed. We fund the Macmillan nurses' training and posts which is why they bear our name, however they are actually employed by the NHS and work on a referral basis so it’s great to hear this support is already in place.

    You don’t mention in your message how you are at the moment  so please know that we are here at Macmillan Cancer Support to support you and your family in many different ways, including offering emotional support to you all. We also have a money and work service who specialise in many areas including financial queries like benefit entitlements, wills, insurances and rights at work. In addition, we have a team of cancer information nurse specialists who are able to help with any medical queries you may have. And as well as being here on the online community, we  also have our live web chat service, our freephone  number 0808 808 0000 which is available  7 days a week, 8am-8pm and our local information and support centres which you can find via our In your Area search.

    I really hope this information helps and that your mum gets home soon with the appropriate care and equipment in place.

    Take care,

    Marie S - Macmillan

    Cancer Information and Support Adviser

    Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 00 00 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email.