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A conversation with a palliative care nurse

For Palliative Care Week, we spoke to Ellie, a nurse with seven years experience, about her thoughts and experiences in providing palliative care to people in their own home.

ellie - palliative care nurse (1)

How can Palliative Care at home make a difference?

“Palliative care in the home can create a feeling of tranquillity and peace for clients, which many other facilities find challenging to replicate,” said Ellie.

“This is because clients can remain in the comfort of their own personal environments, surrounded by their loved ones, their pets, the familiar scents, and sounds of home.  They can eat their preferred foods, spend time doing the things that bring them comfort, see their favourite people when it suits them.

Often, this can improve the quality of life or in some cases prolong life for the client, and that’s the difference.”

Why would you recommend Palliative Care at home?

“Palliative care at home is highly client-focussed. The care is always one-to-one, allowing nurses to spend more time to deliver the care in a timely way, immediately when they need it.  A nurse can very closely monitor the client and respond to their needs and requests without delay, ” said Ellie.

Why should families consider bringing Palliative care into their homes?

“Bringing a specialist palliative care nurse into the home to care for someone with a serious illness can help take away some of the anxiety the family might be feeling.  The family can be close by their loved one, see that they are being well cared for and also be supported by the nurse themselves.

There are the obvious patient care duties such as medication administration, chronic pain management, pressure area care and ensuring personal hygiene generally in the form of a bed wash, mouth care, assisting with food and fluid intake.

However, nurses also help with other activities around the home like the dishes or laundry, taking some of the everyday burdens away to allow the family to spend precious time together.  The family also experience the mental and spiritual assistance we bring in creating a soothing environment for the client such as playing music, incense, meditation, positive affirmations, or other therapies that a nurse is practiced in. These elements are helpful for the whole family.

A palliative care nurse is always on hand to talk, offer comfort and alleviate the burden of stress and strain that is often felt and expressed by clients and their loved ones.”

What draws you to Palliative Care work?

“Palliative care work is highly rewarding as it allows me to establish a meaningful connection with both client’s and their families. My work allows me to help ease some of the anxiety around end of life and the grieving process for all involved,” said Ellie.

What might people be surprised to learn about palliative care?

“Palliative care doesn’t necessarily always entail dying, it can also involve providing support to clients with chronic illnesses over an extended period. Over time, nurses may form deep and meaningful relationships with patients and their families, and that in itself creates another layer of comfort within the client’s home.”

To learn more about how Prestige Inhome Care can support you or your loved on with palliative care, see Palliative Care At Home Services