Caring for someone with a terminal illness

Julie ' Interview 14

Age at interview: 58

Brief outline: Julie's partner was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus in 2007. Julie and her partner tried to carry on as normal for as long as possible, Julie cared for her partner in the last few months of his life when his health deteriorated rapidly.

Background: Julie is a part-time teacher. Ethnic background' Ashkenazi Jewish/ North West African.

Audio & video

Julie’s partner was diagnosed with small cell carcinoma of the oesophagus in 2007 and he was told that his illness was terminal. Julie’s partner did not wish to discuss arrangements for his death with the palliative care nurse. Julie and her partner understood that for them the best way of coping with his illness was to focus on carrying on as normal for as long as possible. Julie’s partner had radiotherapy, however two years after his diagnosis his health began to decline rapidly. Julie cared for him during this period at home. As her partner became much weaker Julie and the palliative care team decided that her partner should go into a hospice. He died in the hospice a day later. Julie felt that if she had known that this would happen so soon, she would have kept her partner at home where he would have preferred to be.

Julie felt that the information she and her partner had from health professionals was straightforward and to the point. Julie valued the honesty of the clinicians.

Mutual friends have rallied round and been supportive since her partner’s death, which helped Julie to feel occupied at this time.


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