While the general public has been urged to stay at home and stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses and medical staff have continued to provide vital end of life. One such team is The Outreach team at Bury Hospice which has continued to look after families who have needed their help despite not doing routine face to face visits and have been described as ‘a lifeline’ as they have gone about their daily business supporting people with a life limiting diagnosis.
The Outreach service, which celebrated its first birthday at the end of March, was launched to get involved with patients much earlier in their diagnosis, to support them and their families, signpost what help and other services are available and talk through the process of their illness so they know what to expect.
Over the last few months this care has not changed. Despite the nurses not being able to visit patients their support has not only continued, but made a real difference at moments when patients and families were despairing.
Sue Irwin, who is a nurse on the team, talks about one of the many times when their input had a tremendous impact.
“One family sticks in my mind. This particular man was having palliative chemotherapy and had been very poorly. Just before visits were suspended, due to COVID, he had had a scan to see if his palliative chemo was of any benefit, to see if it had slowed things down. He was advised that he could not take his wife to the appointment with him, and his wife called me really concerned that her husband was going alone to hear the results of his scan.”
“After talking the situation through with her and liaising with The Christie we worked out a solution that enabled her to be involved in the feedback meeting with the consultant, by being part of the conversation on loud speaker phone. The wife was so grateful for our help in advising and liaising with The Christie – and as it was the results were far better than they had expected.”
“The team have found that we have got particularly close to the families we support – they have all said how grateful they are that we are on the end of the phone, and have been there for them.”
This article has been kindly supplied by Bury Hospice, Lancashire. Bury Hospice opened in 1991 and supports local people and their families to achieve the best possible quality of life at a time when this matters more than ever. Their motto is Serving our community when they need us most.