3rd November 2017

Hospice on the high street

A team of caring St Richard’s Hospice Community Nurses are celebrating after moving into a new base above the charity’s shop in Evesham High Street.

The team of six consists of St Richard’s Clinical Nurse Specialists Phyllis Coates, Karen Palmer, Pam Clark and Sue Thurston alongside Senior Staff Nurses Catherine Wheeler and Charlotte Jordan.

They offer free specialist care and support to patients and their loved ones affected by a life-limiting illness who live in Evesham, Pershore and the Bredon and Broadway areas.

Evesham community team outside shopWorking from the High Street base allows the nurses to spend as much time as possible caring for local patients and saves on driving time to the hospice headquarters in Worcester between visits to write up notes and make telephone calls.

The Nurse Specialists each support up to 35 patients at any one time, offering expert advice on managing symptoms and working closely with the patient’s GP and other healthcare teams to ensure they receive high quality, co-ordinated care. They see patients in their own homes, care homes or at GP surgeries or can offer advice by telephone.

In the last year the full St Richard’s Community Nursing Team supported more than 1,200 patients in Worcestershire, making an invaluable difference to a patient’s quality of life.

Of these 146 patients and 171 family members from Evesham were cared for and supported by the dedicated team with another 79 referrals for patients living in Pershore and 47 individuals in the Broadway and Bredon areas.

Patients are living with a range of life-limiting conditions including motor neurone disease (MND), heart failure, renal and respiratory conditions as well as Parkinson’s and cancer.

Nurse Specialist Sue Thurston explained, “as well as having extensive knowledge on managing symptoms we also can offer advice and guidance to a patient’s loved ones.  Patients often see us as offering continuity and being the central co-ordinator for their care. “

“We have the time to talk and explain as some patients can become confused by the different health care professionals and amount of information they need to understand.”

Catherine Wheeler added, “Families also find it very comforting that the hospice offers a 24-hour telephone advice service so they can call at any time – even in the middle of the night –  if they have concerns or anxieties about their symptoms.”

Currently the team is caring for patients who range in age from early thirties to their 90s. They will also refer patients and their loved ones to other hospice services where appropriate such as family support, financial advice, day services, the In-patient Unit, spiritual care or patient groups.

Charlotte Jordan said, “Sometimes patients are very hesitant when we arrive and you can see they are thinking, ‘I’m not so ill that I need a hospice nurse’. But after we have talked and explained how we can help that feeling changes. Modern hospice care is very much about improving a patient’s quality of life and helping them live as fully as they can.”

She added, “Some patients initially think we are Macmillan nurses but although we do a similar job we are all nurses with St Richard’s which is an independent Worcestershire charity and doesn’t receive any funding from Macmillan.”

Patients who would like support from St Richard’s hospice can be referred by their GP, consultant, district nurse or other healthcare professional. Patients, or a person close to them can also speak to our Gateway referral team themselves for information or advice. To find out more please call the St Richard’s Gateway Team on 01905 763963.

St Richard’s Hospice provides free specialist palliative and end of life care for patients living with life-limiting illnesses and supports their loved ones. Each year the hospice team supports more than 3,000 patients, family members and bereaved people in Worcestershire.

The hospice strives to provide the best medical, practical, emotional and social support they can to help people live life to the fullest, as independently as they can, for as long as they can. They care for people with a range of illnesses including heart failure, Parkinson’s, and motor neurone disease as well as cancer.

St Richard’s is an independent charity and is grateful for all donations to help it continue its work.