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Lakelands Hospice provides palliative and end of life care, free of charge, for people in Corby and the surrounding villages living with life-limiting illnesses such as cancer, COPD, MS and advanced heart failure. Corby has one of the highest rates of heart failure in England and has some areas that are among the county’s most socially deprived.
We do not receive any government or NHS funding, relying totally on charitable donations and fundraising events and we need to raise in excess of £525,000 each year to keep our doors open.
A typical day in the life of Lynn Davies, our Sister and Hospice at Home Co-ordinator
My day starts with a nurses' meeting and discussion on our patients needs and support.
After the patients arrive we chat with them over a cup of tea, finding out how they are today, how they have been since they were last here, if they have any concerns or worries they want to talk about. If they want some privacy we find a private place to chat. As nurses at Lakelands, we have no time constraints, so we are able to be with a patient on a one to one basis for as long as they need.
I make referrals to other agencies or chase up appointments/results for patients. Sometimes patients just want to talk and discuss their feelings, anxieties problems with someone that is not a member of their family because they can find this easier. Sometimes they want to have a difficult conversation about end of life care, if they are terminally ill, or they want help in writing their funeral plan.
In the day room we have time in the morning to be with our patients as they are catching up with the friends they have made at Lakelands. We may be doing crafts, playing cards, dominos or card games. We may be doing manicures, hand/feet massages or the patients may be having Reiki therapy. Tea, coffee and biscuits are always in abundance. Following a home cooked lunch, we spend the afternoon doing activities. We may have a theme, such as beach week when we have a paddle in the pool, play croquet and outdoor games followed by ice cream and a “summer sing a long”. We may have a film and popcorn afternoon, a quiz, a game of bingo or have someone visit the hospice to give a talk or provide entertainment. Whatever we do there is a great lot of fun and laughter.
I am also the Hospice@Home co-ordinator, so I am responsible for a team of four qualified nurses who go out and provide overnight nursing care for patients in their own homes. The patients are referred by the district nurses and then I ring the family and arrange to go to the home and meet both them and the patient. I would spend time getting to know what the patient’s needs are, and listen to any worries, fears or concerns that they have and hopefully be able to help allay them. I spend time with them and explain what support and help we can offer and I arrange the rota for the nurses to attend. This is usually done in the afternoon, but arranged at a convenient time with the family. I spend time giving families a ring and finding out if they have any problems or issues, or just to find out how they are. I also liaise closely with the District Nurses and other agencies involved in the care of our patients. Often, following the death of the patient I will visit the family to see how they are coping, sometimes it will be a phone call and sometimes a sympathy card through the post, but they all know that they can ring me at the hospice at any time during this journey if I can assist them with anything or answer any questions that they may have.
At the end of each day I have the opportunity to catch up with my paperwork, audits, equipment checks, rota planning and most importantly the activities our patients have yet to enjoy.
We understand and empathise with the feelings of our patients
The right and ability to choose the end of life care that is right for them and their families
We give support and assistance, be part of and encourage patients to improve their quality of life
We are funded by the community for the community
Patients have trust in our nursing staff, processes and services
We are sympathetic and show compassion for the sufferings of our patients
Maintaining patient dignity at end of life is paramount
Treating each patient with compassion is an absolute requirement
It is important that patients and families can put their trust in us at one of the most difficult times in their lives