A family in Derbyshire has described how the care they’ve received from Treetops Hospice Care has been a “lifeline”, as it enabled their dad to be cared for at home, as he wished.
The hospice’s “Roaming Nurses” respond to calls from families with a loved one at the end of life, who has chosen to die at home. This service complements the existing Treetops Hospice at Home nurses who have continued to provide palliative care throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.
“The night we called the nurses, we just weren’t able to do the simple things like make dad comfy in bed, or to know what he needed” one family member said. “We were struggling as a family by that point and you feel so helpless knowing you can’t do those little things.
“Dad had woken up in the early hours and he was distressed and uncomfortable. The nurses arrived and gave him some medication to help him relax. They were chatting with him, making jokes and making him laugh. At one point, he was laying there and you saw his big cheeky smile come onto his face, which for me and mum was so lovely to see, and to know it was still his old self in there.”
“It made us feel happier”
The nurses “did so much more than we expected. I expected they’d just help us get dad back into bed, make him comfy and then leave, but they helped us with things we just didn’t realise needed doing.
“For me and mum, it made a massive difference, and it was a big relief knowing that dad was getting everything he needed. They also reassured us that we were doing a good job and doing what dad needed. It made us feel happier.
“Going through this with my dad has opened up my eyes to what an amazing job the nurses and healthcare assistants do. They made dad’s final night at home with us peaceful, calm and as pain-free as they could. It was more than we could have asked for. If it wasn’t for the nurses that night, I really don’t know how we would have got through it.”
Vital help for families
The Roaming Service began earlier this year, after Treetops successfully approached Toyota to loan them a vehicle for a registered nurse and healthcare assistant to visit patients. The service has enable the hospice to visit up to seven more Treetops patients each evening to help with symptom or pain management.
Teresa Smith, the Hospice at Home Manager, says the service has been operating throughout the pandemic. “Our Hospice at Home nurses continue to provide overnight and day care for patients at the very end of life, who’ve chosen to die at home. This service is vital for families who know their loved one is being cared for whilst they get a few hours’ sleep or a break. The new Roaming Service means we can care for even more patients living in Derby and Derbyshire and alleviate pressures on the NHS.
“We also have families that might not need a Treetops nurse to sit with their loved one for a whole night, but might need to call with a one-off request. Previously, if a family recognised their loved one was in pain or deteriorating, they would call the 111 out-of-hours service. They would assess the situation and send out a District Nurse, but this could mean a wait as the service is extremely busy. They can now call the Roaming Service who can respond quickly and who have an existing knowledge of the patient and their needs.”
The service is available 24 hours a day, every day of year. Last year, Hospice at Home nurses provided over 28,000 hours of care across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.