“We bring hospice care into people’s homes.” These are the words of Emma Wright, Clinical Lead of Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice’s Hospice at Home team. As part of our summer appeal, she gives us an insight into what her job involves and why she does it.
As a nurse, it’s my job to have conversations with people about where they want to die. And, in my experience, very few patients say “I want to be in hospital”; they usually tell me they want to be in a hospice or at home, in familiar surroundings and their own beds, with their loved ones nearby.
That’s where we, Sue Ryder’s Hospice at Home team, come in. We bring hospice care into patients’ homes – and actually it’s a wonderful job and such a privilege.
We go in and we let families be families again.
Often, those families have been caring for their loved one as best they can all by themselves and, by the time we arrive, we can see they’re exhausted.
You only need a couple of days without a good night’s sleep – because the person you’re caring for has been in pain or their symptoms need round-the-clock management – before it becomes unmanageable. We take great pride in easing this strain so they can focus, once more, on just being a family.
“A different kind of care”
Hospice at Home is a different kind of care.
We do our best to always maintain some element of normality and remember that we are guests in people’s homes.
I went to see a family the other day where the grandchildren were coming in and everyday home life was still going on. Everything was just like normal – or as normal as it can be when somebody is dying.
“Helping to fulfil people’s final wishes is a privilege”
We are very much led by what the patient wants and needs; if somebody needs two hours of care and attention from us, then that’s what they get.
We have the flexibility to provide expert care that truly is tailor-made to suit each person – so if they don’t want anything from us, that’s absolutely fine, or if they say “I’ve had a really bad night. Could I have my wash in the evening?” then we come back later.
Helping to fulfil people’s final wishes and make a difference to them when they’re at their most vulnerable is a real privilege.
When people tell me their loved ones wanted to stay at home and we helped them do that, or that we enabled them to stop being carers and become a family again – that’s pretty powerful.
Will you help us provide the essential care people really need – wherever they need it?
My team couldn’t help families across the UK without the support of people like you.
Please, will you make a donation today that will provide specialist and essential care – both in our hospices and in people’s own homes?
Sue Ryder Nurse Emma lives in Cheltenham, where she leads our Leckhampton Court Hospice at Home and Day Hospice teams.