Prior to our care home

Born just after Christmas in 1936, Jean has lived in Kent for most of her life. Her career saw her teach German and French at local schools including Dane Court, Charles Dickens and Dover College.

Prior to Jean’s admission into St Michaels she was a very independent lady, driving, going to church, gardening and enjoying living at home on her own busying herself with normal daily tasks, happily.

One morning, Jean felt unwell but, thinking nothing of it, she carried on her day as normal, it was a headache, but not what she described as a ‘normal’ headache at the back of her head. At the time, she was driving and managed to pull over safely. This is the last memory Jean has! The subsequent six weeks of her life just draw a blank. Jean had suffered a cerebral bleed on the brain.

Elizabeth, Jean’s sister, tells us how Jean was taken to hospital where she was completely non–responsive. She didn’t open her eyes or communicate in any visible way and sadly, medical staff feared that she would not make it through the night.

Unbelievably, after three days, Jean amazed everyone when she started to open her eyes. Despite this, Jean was considered to be very ill and the difficult decision was made to arrange end of life care for her. That’s when she came to us at St Michael’s Care Home, in Westgate-on-Sea.

Admittance to St Michael’s

She came to us on 8th March 2021 when she needed hoists for transfers and unable to communicate effectively because the bleed had impaired her speech. She would often talk in German or French too while trying to speak. Jean always remained of sound mind and knew exactly what was going on around her during this time.

The activities team realised Jean could communicate via writing (all be it a bit muddled) so they brought her notelets to write to her friends that could be posted, Jean had her own tablet in her room so often communicated via email with the activities team. She was also given a notepad and pen for her room. Every day they would hold conversations with her, this helped with her speech and when she struggled with words and had to write them down we would then say the word to help her hear and correct herself.

Jean was always very determined, she would do regular leg exercises in bed to build up her strength, she would always get involved with the activities and was a lovely, caring resident to all staff and other residents in the home.

The activities team say that Jean was always helpful and she eventually became like an extra activities co-ordinator at the home, helping to organise the afternoon activities. The determination to get better was very strong with Jean – she was focused on getting better so that she could go back and enjoy her home once again.

Jean has always been a keen gardener, so she helped with planting the bulbs in the new planters, and helping keep the weeds at bay.

Jean’s statement

“I was admitted to St Michaels to die, but the team here helped me come back to life! They helped bring my personality back! I very much enjoyed the activities and the home manager, Rema, was the first person that made me think that there was a chance, hope!”

Elizabeth’s statement

“I was impressed with how safe you kept the home during covid, while still allowing people in as appropriate and carrying out LFTs for visitors during a difficult time. All the staff were nice and caring to the residents and the visitors. This is a beautiful place and they would highly recommend St Michaels Care Home.”

Discharge from our home

Jean was discharged from St Michaels on 22nd November 2021.

It was an unusual experience saying goodbye to Jean. Everyone was very sad to see her go home because she brought so much to the home, but we were all so delighted that her wish was granted to return to her beloved home. When Jean first went home she had four daily care visits which has now been reduced to two. The only help she really needs is with making her bed and a bit of cleaning as Jean does not like them to help her, she likes to remain independent. Her speech has improved greatly, she now only struggles with names and numbers which she will then write down. Let’s not forget, she can still speak three languages too!

Jean now does all of her own gardening and baking and regularly takes herself out on the bus and for walks. She works in her local Church garden once a week and is now living the life she loves, as she was before.

“I will forever be grateful to St Michaels for getting me to where I am now”, Jean said.

One of our favourite memories of Jean at St Michaels was the day that she shocked everyone by getting up and walking, when this had seemed an impossibility only weeks before. Another one was on 30th July, at St Michaels’s first Summer Garden Party since lockdown. Not only did Jean attend, the staff were over the moon to see her (literally) dancing her way through the gates. To see the recovery she had made meant so much to everyone at this wonderful home and reaffirms why we do what we do.

If you are looking for care for yourself or a loved one, contact the team at St Michael’s and we will ensure that you are looked after from the moment you walk through our doors.