A vital initiative launched in lockdown supporting end-of-life nursing care for patients and their families has been shortlisted in the national Charity Today Awards.
Local charity, Treetops Hospice, has been shortlisted in the Health and Social Care category of the awards for the Roaming Nurse Service it set up in April 2020.
Every evening, from 9.30pm to 6.30am, the Roaming Team – a Hospice at Home registered nurse and healthcare assistant – respond to calls from families with a one-off request for support. They can visit up to seven patients living across Derby and Southern Derbyshire each evening.
Supporting patients who choose to die at home, with their loved ones around them, is very important to Treetops as Teresa Smith, Hospice at Home manager, explained:
“Our dedicated Hospice at Home nurses care for patients at home in their last few days of life. It means that families and carers can get sleep, knowing their loved one is being looked after.
“For many years, we recognised that some families don’t need our nurses with them throughout the whole night; they can organise family members to sit with their loved ones each evening so everyone can get a break.
“But there are still times when these families need our help. Their loved ones can wake in pain and it can feel impossible to make them comfortable. It can be difficult to help them back into bed or their condition can deteriorate.
“In these situations, a family would previously have called the 111 out-of-hours service provided by Derbyshire Health United. They (111) would assess the situation and send a District Nurse. This could mean a stressful delay as the service is extremely busy.
“When COVID struck, we knew the NHS would face increasing pressures on its services. We knew we had to help and the Roaming Nurse Service was our answer to the problem.”
To date, the nurses have made almost 1,500 visits to patients at home, saving hundreds of call-outs from the 111 service. It has also prevented unnecessary and stressful hospital admissions for patients at a time when the NHS was under intense pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“To be officially recognised for our Roaming Nurse Service is just wonderful and it helps to highlight the demand for this care and how important it is to local people.”
Anja, from Chaddesden, says she is extremely grateful to the Roaming Nurses for their care when her dad was terminally ill.
“The night we called the Treetops Roaming Nurses, Dad had woken up distressed. We just weren’t able to do the simple things like make him comfy.
“The Roaming Nurses arrived and gave him medication to help him relax. They made his final night at home with us peaceful, calm and as pain-free as they could. They reassured us so much at such a horrible time and never once made us feel like they had to rush off.
“For me and mum, it made a massive difference and it was a big relief knowing that dad was getting everything he needed. If it wasn’t for them, I really don’t know how we would have gotten through the night. They were angels in disguise.”
The Charity Today awards have a long history of recognising excellence throughout the nation’s charity sector. Every year, 10 categories open to receive nominations from charities, community groups and individuals.
There will be a public vote for each category on the social media platform Twitter, where supporters can choose their charity hero.
The voting for the Health & Social Care category opens on October 25 for three days. Follow @CharityAwards to cast your vote.
The Roaming Nurses drive an Avensis Auto Tourer Estate thanks to a kind loan from Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK. The Service was originally funded through a grant of £100,000 from Barclays 100×100 UK COVID-19 Community Aid Package. A grant of £213,000 from Derby and Burton Hospitals Charity and NHS Charities Together will fund the service for 18 months until March 2022.