A Trinity Hospice nurse who has recently transferred to the hospice’s palliative care team at Blackpool Victoria Hospital has spoken about how privileged she feels working alongside hospital colleagues to make a huge difference to local patients.
Kirsty Jones, who was a nurse on Trinity’s In-patient Unit for four years, recently joined the hospice Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) team at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and says seeing patients at a different stage in their palliative journey has been an eye-opener.
But it’s being able to fast-track a patient home, where they have chosen to receive their care, or into the hospice to receive specialist symptom management, where she feels like she is making a huge difference in people’s care.
She is also helping to educate staff across the whole hospital about palliative and end-of-life care.
Kirsty, 43, said: “Being at the hospital, you’re a completely different trajectory in a patient’s journey.
“On the In-patient Unit, patients are aware of their condition – they’re quite far on with their symptoms and may be approaching the end of their lives, and coming in for symptom management.
“Here at the hospital, we’re looking at a lot of people who may have been referred to us just a few days after receiving their diagnosis. Or they may be really unwell with their condition while they’re still having treatment.
“You’re just looking at patients from a completely different angle as you do from the hospice. You’re looking for reversible causes; why are your bloods like that and how can we change that? Why are you feeling like that and how can we change it? Where is that infection coming from and how can we treat it?
“When you’ve put a patient forward for a bed at the hospice, you really feel like you’ve made a difference to them. They may just be having symptoms of their condition that they can’t manage – that they’re really struggling with, and you know they can get sorted at the hospice and back home again, feeling much more comfortable.”
The CNS team at the hospital has recently been extended, taking on more nurses and Health Care Assistants, and covering the hospital seven days a week instead of just five days. It means that no matter when a patient comes into hospital needing palliative care, they can access it.
Kirsty said: “We are receiving a lot of referrals to help get people out of hospital; making advanced care plans and getting people discharged is a massive part of the job here at the hospital.
“Usually, by the time a patient has come onto the In-patient Unit at the hospice, it has already been established where they want to have their care, and where they want to die. Some people in the hospital are not even aware they have the choice.”
Kirsty said she and her colleagues visit other departments in the hospital each day to help inform staff of the importance of good palliative care, and to make sure they know how and when to contact the Trinity team.
“The In-patient Unit underpins everything that I know, and it’s a privilege to be able to go out and share that knowledge with other medical professionals,” she said.
The Trinity CNS team at the hospital has recently launched a new project to ensure people who have a palliative condition and come into the emergency department are assessed and fast-tracked either back home or into the hospice to receive the care they need in the place of their choice, avoiding unnecessary hospital admission.
Kirsty added: “No day is the same as a Trinity nurse in the hospital. You go in, check your referrals then spend time with the patients, making sure they can access the right care in a place that’s right for them. It’s such a privilege to be involved in someone’s care like that.”
Trinity Hospice is a charity and costs more than £9 million each year to run, reaching local patients and their families when they need it most.
It is calling on local people to sponsor nurses like Kirsty, so they can continue to give outstanding care to all who need it across the Fylde coast.
To find out more, visit www.trinityhospice.co.uk/sponsor-a-nurse.