* Kay Ryan, Outpatient Services
Coordinator at Nightingale House Hospice.
Nightingale House Hospice is taking its specialist patient and carer support into the community providing information, advice and support for those who need it.
A new outreach facility has been set up in Chirk Community Hospital to enable patients and their loved ones to tap into a wealth of expertise and services within a community setting.
It is a chance to speak to someone about what a patient is going through or worried about.
Kay Ryan, Outpatient Services Coordinator, is responsible for the new service and says the thinking behind the new project is to make it easier for patients living in these areas to access services.
She believes that it will also help de-mystify the image of a hospice only being available for end of life care.
The hospice helps patients lead an improved quality of life even with a life-limiting illness.
Kay says many people do not know that Nightingale House helps patients to access numerous services they may not know are available to them such as bereavement support, art and music therapy, drop-in sessions, and complementary therapy, as well as clinical support if required.
It is a myth she is keen to bust and emphasises the focus is very much on patient need and quality of life: “People’s perceptions are that think we only provide end of life care and new patients are often frightened to come to our main hospice building in Chester Road.
"The majority of people don’t realise the range of services we offer. We can also signpost them to other services with the help of District Nurses, Community Palliative Care and Nurse Specialists in hospital or via their GP based on their needs at the time.
“Our services aim to meet the needs of the patients and families who attend. It may be their physical or emotional well-being that they are struggling with or it could be family or work worries. We hope that by having an Outreach Service it will enable people who do wish to attend the Hospice to still access our support. It provides the opportunity for them talk to us and for us to be able to provide information and support that will allay their fears and help them to address their problems."
Attending the outreach sessions gives patients or carers a chance to find out more about pain management, living well and achieving their goals, having important conversations around health and well-being and how to improve sleep. Family members are often keen to talk to a skilled healthcare professional away from a formal environment such as a hospital or GP surgery.
Kay said: “It opens up access to the hospice in different surroundings for people who initially may only want to know what we offer. Very often family members or friends come to us first to get information and help.
"It is often the simplicity of help that has the greatest impact on patients. For example, one gentleman who had an advanced neurological condition and was losing the ability to speak was anxious about how he was going to be cared for as he couldn’t access the services he needed.
"A phone call to the GP resulted in the GP offering the patient a one hour appointment where he was able to allay the patient’s fears. Sometimes the answers are so simple and can make such a massive difference."
Kay has been managing the Outpatient and Day Care Services at the Hospice for the past 10 years and feels it is important to spread the word about the new Outreach Services: “The most special and satisfying aspect of the job is being able to make a difference at a time when some people think that no-one can help them.
"This is possible because we work as a multidisciplinary team, with a full mix of skills and expertise, we can usually find a solution to improve a problem.”
Nightingale House Outreach is available at: Chirk Community Hospital Tuesday from 10am – 12.30pm.
* If you would like to know more about Nightingale House Outreach then feel free to drop in to one of the new sessions or telephone 01978 316800.