Hazel Cavanagh – Traumatic brain injury

The right support at the right time can make a huge difference to someone with complex care needs. That’s something that Hazel Cavanagh knows from first-hand experience, after Almond Care provided round the clock support during the last four months of her husband John’s life.

She says: “The support given by Almond Care helped to extend my husband’s life. They also enabled him to have a good quality of life as he progressed through his illness.”

Almond Care’s support was organised through Clinical Commissioning Groups in Cambridge and Nottingham and began at around the end of June 2014, when a team of carers began training that included sessions within the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in London, where John was undergoing rehabilitation following a traumatic brain injury.

When John was discharged a couple of months later Almond Care provided 24/7 care at home until John’s death in December 2014.

The team was responsible for a comprehensive care package for John, who had a tracheostomy, that included personal care, medication administration, clinical observations, such as blood pressure and oxygen levels, passive physiotherapy and providing social and emotional support. It also extended to hospital visits, visits to the local village and ongoing communication with Hazel and other family members about John’s condition, his observations, and any concerns or worries they might have.

Hazel said: “The relationship that I had with the care team, was very good. They learned to trust me and my intimate knowledge of John’s wants and needs, checking with me when they were unsure about something and allowing me to manage decisions such as possible changes to timings of medications, when a doctor was needed, or when an ambulance was to be called.

“The team were with John 24/7 and as he got to know and feel comfortable with them, this enabled him to progress in his illness. Their exceptionally caring and proactive approach to John’s needs meant that he had started to get stronger and was able to do more physical activities.

“The Almond Care staff also saved John’s life on a number of occasions as they were able to notice subtle differences changes in John, alert me and get medical support quickly.

“The personal care given to John enabled him to have less discomfort and maintained his well-being, which contributed to a very ill man being able to stay in his own home for the last few months of his life, surrounded by people who cared, monitored him closely, kept me informed and gave me peace of mind. I would highly recommend the Almond Care team.”

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