Nurses set for Born Survivor challenge

Emily Dixon.
Emily Dixon.

Two hospice nurses who know all too well the importance of their work will be joining forces to take part in the Born Survivor challenge.

Emily Dixon, who is a sister with the Hospice at Home team, and ward nurse Lisa Campbell see every day how vital their work is to thousands of local families.

And they know that fundraising is also an intrinsic part of life at St John’s.

Between them, the hospice staff provide a holistic care which reaches far beyond the patients themselves to supporting family members through what is a very emotional and confusing time.

As a member of the Hospice at Home team, Emily visits patients who are keen to spend their last days in the comfort of their own home.

There are currently 72 patients using the Hospice at Home service.

She said: “We are the palliative hub for the area. We provide a 24 hour service and can respond at any time, visiting patients in their homes to give support when they are in distress or in need of psychological support, personal care or symptom control.”

The team also makes planned visits, drawing up a plan for each patient to provide care for end of life patients.

In addition, they can provide two hour respite slots to enable families and carers to have some time for themselves.

Emily said: “We are just there to provide any support for a petient approaching end of life; we are a bit of a lifeline.

“We prevent hospital admission and enable patients to die in the place of their choice, and the majority of patients want to die at home.”

There are 15 members of the Hospice at Home team, including nurses, healthcare assistants, sisters and a manager, and they work on a round-the-clock rota so that there is always someone available to talk to.

Emily said: “There’s always somebody here, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we cover a large area from South Lakes to Garstang.”

Patients can be referred by their GP, district nurses or family as well as themselves.

Emily said: “We will accept a referral from anybody; a concerned relative can ring up if they don’t know what to do.

“Patients often just like to know that we are there, at the end of the phone.

“Some don’t want us to visit, they just want to know we are there, so we will call them instead.

“I don’t know what some of those patients would do without Hospice at Home.”

Meanwhile, in the hospice itself the ward provides a safe and expert environment, where the nurses provide similar care, psychological support and symptom control.

Emily said: “The hospice is for anybody that’s terminally ill or with a long term condition. Patients don’t just come to die; a lot of people come in numerous times, and we get to know them and manage their symptoms.

“We can refer to other agencies as needed, and there’s a day hospice for patients to come to for a set programme, to access the services and the doctor here, and to meet other people in the same situation as themselves.”

Lisa added: “As well as helping with the usual activities of daily living, such as washing, shaving, oral hygiene and assisting with food and drink, we help to mobilise patients and also offer reassurance, support and advice.”

The hospice has up to 17 beds, in both individual rooms and bays, and numerous staff are kept business around the clock.

Lisa said: “We have got really good teams of staff here; it wouldn’t work without that.”

Emily and Lisa will both be joing the Born Heroes team which is aiming to break a world record at next year’s Born Survivor event, while also raising money for the hospice.

Emily said: “It’s a worthwhile cause to do it for, and it’s something that as nurses we are really passionate about.”