St Clare Hospice has launched its ‘Nurses are Needed’ campaign in a bid to try and grow its nursing workforce. “We have become a really dynamic, forward thinking team and some of our nursing teams are seeing 200-300% more people than they were, when I first joined,” said Carolanne Brannan, Director of Patient Care at St Clare Hospice who is also a registered nurse.
“We’ve become a victim of our own success in the sense that our nurses are so well respected out in the community, we want and need more of them.”
Through its campaign, the charity is trying to raise funds to pay for the additional nurses required to meet the increased need for specialist nursing care for people with complex life-limiting illnesses, while also aiming to take the pressure off of district nurses.
The campaign also showcases nurses who are already part of the organisation, which is rated ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission and cares for those aged 18 and above.
Anne Pemberton (cover photograph), a hospice at home team leader and a nurse of over 20 years, is one of the faces of the campaign and said expanding the team was “such a positive development” for the charity.
“At the moment, there are only three trained nurses in the hospice at home team, so the more nurses with the skills and knowledge to support people at the end of life, the more people we can help,” she said. “With more trained nurses we will be able to develop our service in order to support the needs of palliative care patients, and to take the pressure off the generalised district nurses delivering care to people at the end of their life.” She added that currently district nurses “offer the main nursing provision for end-of-life patients in our area – as well as having to care for other patients with different illnesses. But as specialists in end-of-life care nursing, St Clare would be better placed to give that care,” said Ms Pemberton.
“I am driven by the fact that home, more often than not, is the right place for someone to be cared for at the end of their life. The pathway that a person is taking at the end of their life, is a pathway that we cannot control, or stop. But we can make the journey as pain free and as dignified as possible.”
Recalling caring during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Anne says: “For me, personally, there is one family that I will never forget. It was right at the start of the pandemic and there was a lot of anxiety surrounding the situation at the time – so emotions were running high. A patient with COVID was being cared for at home, she was dying, and she refused to go into the hospital. As the team leader, I was the first person to go into the home and visit the patient to
make an assessment.”
Anne continues, “I just remember her daughter opening the door to me, and being taken to see her mum in the bed. The mother wasn’t old at all, but her breathing was so bad, and it was clear that she was going to die – it was such a sad situation. It then unfolded that the patient’s partner also had COVID, and that he was dying as well. We found out that he was being sent home from hospital so that he too could be cared for at home.”
“In my 20 years as a nurse I have never, ever nursed two dying patients side-by-side in a double bed. That in itself was a huge challenge for us as a team. The Hospice at Home healthcare assistants all stood up and agreed to help, proud to go in and do their job caring for this couple. It was very difficult, both emotionally and physically, and such a sad situation. Both patients had quite severe needs, and so we had to work closely together with the district nurses to care for them – but we did it, together. The couple died together, at home.”
“Having more qualified nurses in the hospice at home team, throws the door open to a wider, bigger, more knowledgeable and experienced service – reaching more people.” The team were seeing “much more complex cases now”, she noted, adding: “We need to be focusing on giving more in-depth care to meet people’s needs – and that requires more nurses.”
For more information on how to join St Clare Hospice’s nursing team, visit: http://stclarehospice.org.uk/jobs
To donate to the Nurses Are Needed campaign, visit: http://stclarehospice.org.uk/nurses-are