Within my first few weeks I spent time shadowing a nurse on the Ward, meeting patients and helping with basic tasks. I also accompanied one of our community nurses on her daily visits to patients, where I met people in their own homes as well as in residential homes. It was instantly clear how much benefit St Wilfrid’s care brought to these peoples’ lives.
Amazingly, we now have a total of 89 nurses within our nursing teams. Between them they’re caring for at least 240 terminally-ill patients at any one time and this could be on our Inpatient Ward, in their own home, residential or nursing home, or even in St Richard’s Hospital.
Our nursing teams are at the front-line of care and they want to help each and every one of our patients, and their loved ones, to make the most of every day.
Patients are encouraged to come to our Day Care facilities, to take part in activities, socialise and laugh and to come into our Ward for symptom control, or end of life care. Wherever possible we try to ensure our patients remain independent and place no restrictions on the visiting times of their family and friends – even animals are welcome!
And, we do our very best to allow patients to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. It’s often where many patients choose to die, surrounded by what’s important and familiar to them – any family, friends, pets and memories. Some of our community nurses – Hospice at Home – will stay overnight in a home if it helps to relieve an exhausted carer (often a relative) and that’s such a special element of our service.
What many people do not realise is that we are an independent charity – we are not a part of any other charity, nor the NHS. We do receive a small percentage of our annual running costs from the NHS, but we have to raise 87% ourselves and we can’t do that without the support of people like you!
To help support the cost of our nursing teams I launched our ‘Sponsor a Nurse’ scheme last August. So far, almost 50 supporters have kindly decided to sponsor a nurse with a monthly Direct Debit. Gifts range from £2 a month to over £50 a month and, to show how every little truly does help, this adds up to over £500 monthly!
I really hope to see this scheme grow more and more, as the need for our services is increasing every year and this trend is set to continue.