WHEN her 'beautiful' husband needed care towards the end of his life, the Hospice at Home nurses were part of a team that allowed Shirley Mørch the 'honour' of looking after him in their family home.

Chris Mørch was just 58 when he died at the start of this year after being diagnosed with melanoma of the eye, which spread to his liver and left him needing 24-hour care.

"I had a wonderful, caring local specialist palliative care team together with an inspired district nursing team and GP who were happy to include our Hospice at Home nurses as part of their multi-disciplinary palliative care team."

In the last few weeks of his life, the local district nursing team and the Hospice at Home nurses visited Chris and his family on a daily basis - offering help with medication, personal care and providing support for Shirley and her three children.

"I was lucky to receive, both from the multi-disciplinary team, and from friends and family, enough support to give us the skills and confidence to keep Chris at home," said Shirley, who works as the head of finance and resources at the hospice. "For us it was really important, we're a small but close family."

The team not only allowed the family to spend as much time as they could together in their Kirkby Lonsdale home, but they equipped Shirley with the confidence to administer care herself.

"I could perform as much personal and intimate care as I wanted to and was able to," she said. "I was supplied with equipment so he could get into and out of the bath. He could maintain his dignity for as long as was possible."

Along with her three children, Max, Milly and Poppy, Shirley was able to make Chris' end of life care part of their daily lives.

"Every evening including the night he died we just sat with him and watched James Bond films because that's as much as he could do," she said.

Chris passed away on January 16 this year and Shirley said that the Hospice at Home nurses came and sat with the family and held them.

"They were just wonderful and it was fitting because he was from Norway and it snowed that night," she said. "After the undertakers had taken him we went and out built a snowman and that snowman was there until the day of his funeral. It just felt right. They (the nurses) didn't need to be there - but they were.

"I would just thank them for being there because actually they didn't just support Chris, they supported us all. The love and care that came through was amazing."

She added: "Thank you is never enough, is it? People talk about having a good death and I think I have no regrets whatsoever about the way that we cared about Chris at the end of life. The nurses and the whole integrated team enabled us to give him as perfect a death as I think is possible."

To donate to the Hospice Angels campaign, please print off and complete the coupon above (MAKE YOUR CHEQUES PAYABLE TO 'HOSPICE ANGELS')or go to www.sjhospice.org.uk/hospiceangels to donate online.

If you or your family has been helped by a Hospice at Home nurse and would like to share your story, please contact Sara Royle on 01539 790260 or email sara.royle@nqnw.co.uk