Published on: Wednesday 17 Jun 2015 at 11:30
Often described as ‘angels’ by the families they care for, they perform a very special role, offering hands-on, personal care to patients to enable them to remain in the comfort of their own home in their final days.
No two days are ever the same, but here one of our nursing assistants, Helen, shares an insight into what the team do during a typical shift…
8am: Arrive at the Hospice. Attend the morning’s handover briefing with the Hospice at Home co-ordinator and the St Clare Clinical Nurse Specialist in charge today to find out which patients we will be visiting today. Read through the patient notes to check the individual needs of each person and their family.
9am: Arrive in Hatfield Heath to see a lady who our Community Team has been supporting with symptom management. She is distressed because of concerns with a syringe driver she has been given to help manage her pain. Her husband is also anxious so we make her as comfortable as possible before calling the office to arrange a follow-up visit by one of our St Clare Clinical Nurse Specialists.
10.45am: Visit a patient in Saffron Walden to provide hands-on personal care, including helping him shave and wash his hair. Check for any pressure sores before helping to get him dressed. Discuss the benefits of being referred to our Day Therapy team to help ease his respiratory problems by attending our breathlessness group.
12pm: Our next patient in Old Harlow has been suffering from severe vomiting and his exhausted partner has been up throughout the night caring for him. Talk to them both about extra support via our new Night Service.
1.30pm: Visit a family in North Weald whose teenage son is struggling to cope with his dad’s deteriorating health. After taking time to talk through his anxieties, he feels confident to sit with his dad so they are able to spend his final hours together peacefully.
2.15pm: Final patient visit of the day in Epping. While we are there his wife has a chance to take a break to walk the dog. She has been worried to leave her husband for too long, so speak to them about arranging a visit from one of our Community Friends to provide additional support and companionship.
3.15pm: Return to the Hospice to update the patient notes. Before handing over to the next shift, have a read through some of the thank you cards that have been sent by some of the families we have cared for.
Interested to know more about Hospice at Home?
Read Peggy’s story
See Hospice at Home for more information and details of how to access the service