Care, kindness and dignity

My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2006. She also had osteoarthritis, which caused her great physical discomfort, especially after a fall in November 2012. She came to St Catherine's in July 2012 and died there in April 2013.Even before she came to St Catherine's, the ethos of the home was clear to myself and my family. We had visited several homes before arriving at St Catherine's and the difference hit us from the moment we entered through the front door. The friendly greeting and willingness to show us around, without a previous appointment, demonstrated a confidence and openness in the facilities there.

I was led to believe, by others, that the waiting list would be hugely long and that there would be little chance of finding room there for my mother. This proved not to be the case. Once the difficulties of my caring for my mother full time were made known, I know St Catherine's worked very hard to make it possible for her to go there. Once the move was made, I was able to be there as long as I liked every day. Then, even when I had to return to work in London, I was able to do so with the confidence that Mum was being looked after properly.

From everything I saw and witnessed, the staff there do a superb job in caring for each person equally. I never once saw anything other than care, patience and kindness even when you would have to be a saint to deal with the constant day to day concerns.

My mother was poorly enough to need constant care and aware enough to know that things were going wrong with her: this distressed her deeply. However, Mum's distress did not affect the attitude or care of any staff member, who continues to make her smile and who treated her as one of their own.

It was a relief to know that Mum would stay at St Catherine's unless we felt it best she should go to hospital. Knowing that there was the option for her to die in familiar surroundings instead of in hospital was a huge comfort to us. As it turned out, this decision would never have to be made and Mum died in her sleep at St Catherine's. I will never be able to express my thanks to all at St Catherine's, who made what could have been unbearable days, into tolerable and even, at times, joyful days. I would never hesitate in recommending St Catherine's to anyone faced with the unbearable choice of placing their loved ones into a care home. They will be treated with care, kindness, dignity and of equal importance, medical competence when they enter those doors. From the son of a resident. 11th September 2013.