Hospice @Home Nurses share their stories - East Cheshire Hospice

Hospice @Home Nurses share their stories

Going into homes caring for dying patients can be tough.

But it is also highly rewarding, as Hospice @Home nurses at East Cheshire Hospice know so well.

As the service reaches its fifth anniversary, staff have spoken at their pride helping patients at the most precious moment of their life.

Hospice @Home staff (from left) Sally Heaven, Helen Singleton and Gill Tomlinson.

Rapid response nurse Helen Singleton has been visiting homes since the start.

She said: “On that first day five years ago we hit the floor running. We were asked to go to a village I’d never heard of. Within two visits, we had got the patient safe and comfortable and the daughter was relieved.

“Dying is not easy. There is discomfort and there may be pain.

“Carers can be physically and emotionally exhausted, even traumatised. They may feel lonely and isolated and the household becomes chaotic.

“These are the reasons Hospice @Home exists. We endeavour to address all these difficulties, alongside our NHS and social care provider colleagues.”

Helen and colleagues use one of three Hospice cars which have made more than 14,000 home visits, day and night.

She said: “At 3 am on my last shift just by listening, we enabled a couple to make a difficult decision at home. Within a few hours, their wishes had been acted upon and the patient opted to go into the Hospice.

“Like all endeavours we’ve had our ups and downs, but we’ve managed to overcome the downs and have built on the ups. From a small team, we’re now a large team of 25, providing a wonderful array of services round the clock.

“We’ve fostered respect and co-operation with other services and as a hub for East Cheshire we’re a major focus for palliative care provision.

“We couldn’t have done this without our supporters and the donation of the cars has been much appreciated.”

Helen’s comments are echoed by colleagues, some of whom have raised funds for a service they are all passionate about.

Health care assistant Elaine Taylor had her head shaved. She said: “The job is so rewarding. It’s a privilege caring for patients at end-of-life.

“We get lovely messages from families when relatives have passed away, saying they couldn’t have coped without us.”

The service has helped over 1,000 people to die in their preferred place of death, either at home, or in the Hospice. Initially covering weekends and nights, it was extended to 24 hours in 2020.

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