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It was not until a Marie Curie nurse explained the meaning of the term that she understood and was able to prepare. Her mum, Gurvinder Choda, died at home in Southall, west London, in October 2019, aged 81. Ranbir, 54, said: “We were told mum was being moved over to palliative care about a month before she died. She was being discharged from hospital for the last time, hydrochlorothiazide depression and when they mentioned palliative care, I don’t think I fully understood what that meant.
“When I asked, they said it’s the last care in her journey and I thought of course it is, because she’s elderly. I took it literally.” Ranbir, who lives in Hayes, had no idea that Gurvinder was going to die so soon as nobody had explained this to her.
She added: “When the Marie Curie nurse came over, she said do you know what palliative care means? She literally said, it means she will die. I think it was the first time that we all sat together as a family to think, how long do we have her? I called all the family around and I asked the Marie Curie nurse to explain what will happen next.”
Talking about what to expect helped Ranbir and her family realise how limited their remaining time with Gurvinder was. She added: “We started taking it in turns to sit with her and hold her hand. We had our conversations with her, even if she was asleep, we trusted she could hear us.” Ranbir said the family did all they could to make sure her mother had the send off she deserved.
She said: “We put pictures of the family up on the walls around mum’s bed so she could see us, and we put all the sympathy cards around her room. If the Marie Curie nurse hadn’t explained to me that mum was dying, there’s a risk I would have missed her final moments.”
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