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Sunday, November 8, 2020

Hospice team gets Dai walking again

Dai Davies being put through his paces during a 

physio session at Nightingale House with Leah Evans. 

Former Wales, Everton and Wrexham goalkeeper Dai Davies, of Llangollen, has spoken about how physios at Nightingale House Hospice in Wrexham got him walking again after 10 weeks of hospitalisation.

Dai, who has terminal pancreatic cancer, had been a patient at the Royal Liverpool Hospital for almost two months during the summer, where he was unable to see family loved-ones due to the Covid-19 restrictions. In August he was transferred to Nightingale House.

The move meant Dai could be reunited with his wife Judy, and his three children Gareth, Rhian and Bethan, whilst receiving palliative care and rehabilitation, following his decision not to opt for chemotherapy treatment.

Dai said: “Coincidentally, my consultant Dr Grace Ting at the Royal Liverpool, knew about Nightingale House as she’d done a placement here during the early part of her career. She decided it would be the best move for me and my family and she was right. It was close to home and their visiting policy meant such a difference as I was able to see my wife and family.”

The hospice team facilitated Dai’s transportation from Liverpool to Wrexham and so began his palliative care journey to Nightingale House. 

This wasn’t his first experience of hospice care as Dai had been a Bowen Technique* mentor for lymphoedema nurse specialist Eilish Lund back in the early noughties, so he was familiar with the surroundings, although he admits it has transformed quite a bit since then.

He said: “I hadn’t been on my feet for ten weeks as I’d been lying down in hospital looking out of the window at a concrete wall. When I came to Nightingale House the brilliant physio team had me up and about very quickly. I’m no stranger to gyms but their powers of observation are excellent, as they will tell me when I’ve done enough for one session.

“There is such an air of peace and calm around the hospice and you can leave your worries behind you when you step inside. It was wonderful that I was able to have the option to come here as the choice gave me back control of my treatment.”

Dai and Judy, who have been together for nearly 30 years, have been extremely impressed by the new modernisation facilities at Nightingale House, that were completed during the summer lockdown. Dai visits the hospice for weekly physio sessions and said he has been inspired by the team caring for him.

Judy said: “Sometimes people hear the word ‘hospice’ and only assume that it is just a supportive place for someone to leave this life however a hospice is so much more than that. We are both extremely grateful that the care and rehabilitation that Dai has received in Nightingale House has also enabled him to come back home so much sooner after such a long stay in hospital.

“All the staff are angels and their care and kindness has been endless. On Dai’s arrival someone had even put a small vase of fresh sweet peas from the beautiful hospice garden on his bedside table and it is thoughtful little touches such as this that can make such a difference to one’s overall wellbeing.”

Dai said the entire experience had been wonderful and added: “There is such team work here - it is as if everybody working here is born to do the job; like their calling. Nightingale House is above and beyond what we expected, with exceptional food, facilities and gardens.

“I would say to anyone who is reading of my experience in the hospice that if you find solace in this then please do reach out to the team in Nightingale House. There is pure unconditional love here that will take away any fear that you may have.”

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