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The working life of a day therapy nurse

23 February 2018

Suzanne is a senior staff nurse at Bolton Hospice. Here she writes about what it is like to work with patients in the day therapy unit.

My typical day would usually start by getting organised, sorting out who will be attending, and looking at the different needs of each individual. As a team we make sure that all transport has been booked, whether it be hospice transport, volunteer drivers or taxis.

Handover begins at 08.30. This allows time to discuss what happened the previous week, and to look at any goals that may have been identified on admission. Goals are very important to some of our patients as it gives them a sense of achievement.
Once handover has finished I do all my checks, which include calibrating the blood glucose machine, checking emergency equipment and drugs, and making sure there is enough oxygen.

Working on day therapy each day is different, and you never know what is going to happen. Some of our patients have complex needs and can attend feeling relatively well, but things can change very quickly.

Some mornings my time can be spent with patients who have become acutely unwell. I have to make sure that they are reviewed by one of our doctors and in more severe cases I have had to liaise with the emergency services. Some patients have also been transferred to hospital straight from day therapy.

Lunch for the patients is usually served around 12.30 and they sit together in the dining room. They may have had a busy morning within the creative therapy room where some patients like staff to get involved with what they are doing. This can be quite emotional at times as some patients will be doing memory work, leaving certain items for family or friends.

After lunch we organise different activities which could include touch therapy or massage with the complementary therapists. 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 has been, as some will have had scans, appointments with their consultant, or have commenced chemotherapy.

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.

During the day I also carry out admissions, eight and 12 week reviews and discharges. Carrying out these assessments allows me the chance to see if any referrals are required such as social work, occupational therapy or physiotherapy.

Patients leave at 3pm. This is the time when I would write up my notes and chase up any referrals, faxes or make any telephone calls needed. As a team, we also take the time to reflect on what has happened throughout the day.

Working at the day therapy unit it is a privilege to have the opportunity and time to build up relationships with patients.  

For more information visit Bolton Hospice

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