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The working life of two hospice nurses

Author: Bolton Hospice
01 December 2017

Suzanne and Claire are nurses at Bolton Hospice - Suzanne is a senior staff nurse in the day unit and Claire is a staff nurse in the Hospice At Home team. Here they explain what a typical day at work involves.

Claire

Our first visit is to a gentleman who lives at home with his wife. He has had problems with sickness and pain and now has his medication delivered in a syringe driver pump over 24 hours. Nurses visit him four times a day to check this syringe driver is working correctly and to review his symptoms. He is feeling much better and has managed to eat and drink small amounts, and tells us he has no pain. His wife is finding it hard looking after him at home but keen to continue trying. We chat with her for a while to see how she is feeling and offer support, we all find that being able to offer time and a listening ear is a very important part of our role.

Another visit is to a gentleman who came out of hospital the day before. His children feel anxious about him and upset about his illness. We spend a long time with this family, assessing the patient and also spending time with his children, answering questions and explaining things to them. The gentleman is taking several different tablets and is a bit confused about what to take and when. We explain what the different tablets are and when they should be taken. He has no pain during our visit and is able to eat and drink independently. The family have made a photo book of family memories which he is enjoying looking at and he enjoys reminiscing and telling us about happy occasions. When we leave, his children appear a lot calmer and he seems less confused about his medication.

As the District Nurses are the patients’ primary carers, it is important for us to update them about our visits to their patients.

The hospice at home team work together with the wider multidisciplinary team, which includes GPs, district nurses, Macmillan nurses, allied health professionals, social workers and the hospice medical and nursing team to ensure we deliver the very best end of life care at home for our patients.  

Suzanne

Working on Day Therapy each day can be different and you never know what the day may bring. Some of our patients have complex needs and can attend feeling relatively well but sometimes things can change very quickly. Working within the unit it is a privilege, as it gives me the opportunity and time to build up a relationship with our patients. 

We organise a number of activities during the day which could include such things as Creative Therapies, Hair and Image Therapy and a range of Complementary Therapies. This is an important time for our patients as it gives them time to relax. It also gives them the opportunity to discuss how their week since last seeing us has been, and how things have gone.  This is important as some of our patients may have had scans, consultant appointments or may have commenced various treatments.

We also find that the day unit provides an ideal supportive environment for both monitoring our patients’ pain and symptom management, and also for implementing Advanced Care Planning.

Some patients feel that coming here allows them to be able to speak freely about their condition which they may find hard to talk about at home.

For more information about the hospice and their Sponsor a Nurse campaign visit Bolton Hospice

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