Telephone: 01223 675777
Contact us   Reception 01223 675777  In-Patient Enquiries 01223 675900  Fundraising Office 01223 675888   
Homepage  |   Shop Online  |       |  

Staff Stories


Sarah, Associate Lead Nurse, Hospice at Home

26 July 2019

I’m based at the Arthur Rank Hospice in the Arthur Rank Community Team office. There are currently three Clinical Nurse Specialists in the Hospice at Home team, but we will be recruiting a fourth to help with support for the team. 

I work full time 8.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday and 9.00am to 5.00pm on weekends and bank holidays. As a Clinical Nurse Specialist, I could cover any of those days in a shift pattern. 

At the start of the day we receive the handover from the Healthcare Assistants about how the night has been. We will act upon any symptom management that’s needed for the patient. So, for example, if someone has required medication for any pain, nausea or agitation overnight, we will call the District Nurses or GPs to update them, so they can adjust the symptom management plan. 

We then review all the patients via the computer system and start to make decisions about which patients should be prioritised for care that night. We take any new referrals that might come in that day, from other Clinical Nurse Specialists, GPs or District Nurses in the area. The largest number of new referrals we ever had in one day was seven, on top of the case load we already had! 

We then book the care in with the team and phone the families to let them know care can be provided to them that night. Phone calls are also made to families who’ve had a difficult night. We provide emotional support and reassurance that there is the support around them, to help them through it. We might also make calls to family members who have been recently bereaved.   

A lot of our work is over the phone and that contact is so important. Families know that we’re only a phone call away. We can take queries from them, provide advice and help support them in a very immediate way. Often this will be just reassuring them that the things that are happening to their loved one are normal and to be expected. Sometimes just them knowing that we are there if they need us, is enough.

We do visit patients homes sometimes too. This is usually when a need has been identified. Maybe a patient hasn’t had an introduction to palliative care or symptoms have deteriorated rapidly. We try at that point, to go out and provide a visit to support the family, review what is happening and explain the next steps. 

We are a really responsive service. Of course, it can be heart-breaking when we don’t have enough resources to provide the amount of care needed. Sometimes difficult decisions have to be made.  That’s why our ’Help Us Be There’ Campaign is so important.  

We do only get one chance to get it right. Knowing that you’ve been able to help a family to care for their relative at home and help someone to have a peaceful death, is really rewarding. The reassurance we can give relatives that they’ve got it right and done the best they could to care for their loved one is very valuable too. Sadly, not everybody does die peacefully, but knowing that you’ve helped a family through that process and those stages - and helping the families to recognise why these things might be happening, so they are prepared for it – gives some satisfaction. 

I am so proud of the work our Healthcare Assistants and Nurses do supporting our patients and their families in their own homes for nine hours a night. Thanks to them, we get invaluable feedback and real insight into what’s really happening within families and in patients’ homes. Days in the office are always so busy but we couldn’t do what we do without them. The team do an amazing job. 



Staff Stories

Sharon, Chief Executive
Tracey, IPU Ward Sister
Elizabeth, Finance Assistant
Jill, Specialist Palliative Care Occupational Therapist (OT)
Ann, On-call Nurse in the Hospice at Home team
Carly, Inpatient Unit Matron
Keith, Chaplain
Judi, Creative Activities Coordinator
Jenny, Finance Director
Tsvety, Front of House Manager
Kay, Head of Education and Practice Development
Helen, Manager of Arthur Rank Hospice's charity shop, Regent Street