Today is National Nursing Support Workers Day, an opportunity for us to recognise the incredible contribution that our Health Care Assistants make to the lives of patients and their loved ones, both in the community as part of Weldmar at Home, and at our Inpatient Unit, every single day.
Emma joined our Weldmar at Home team a year ago, and has worked in a palliative care setting for almost a decade. She says that working in the community is what she enjoys best, meeting different people, and says it’s a great honour to be welcomed into their home at such a difficult and important time.
“To be with someone at the end of their life is a real privilege. We provide care for that person, we support them, and we listen to them. Sometimes they might want to talk to us about something they find it difficult to talk to their family about. We get to know each other, and there is trust there.
“We are essentially trying to bring the hospice into their home, so we have to bring the peace and calm that you would find at our Inpatient Unit. We sit with them and their loved ones, explain what’s going on and why, and what’s going to happen next. It might be that we need to arrange some special equipment for their care, such as particular bedsheets, other aids, or even a bed. Thanks to the support network we have of colleagues at Weldmar, including the doctors and community nurses, and other health professionals such as district nurses and GPs, we can get all that in place, along with whatever other support is needed.
Emma says that it’s not just the patient themselves who gets their support, it’s the family and loved ones who are alongside them. “With the family, we sit down with a cup of tea and explain everything, and why it’s happening. Having that knowledge can often help them feel like they have some control over the situation. Many family members like to be quite hands on for the same reason, so we show them how they can help when we’re not there, including changing the sheets or how to pull their loved one up the bed, if that’s needed.
“I always say we’re going to be like ants for the first couple of days, getting in and everything sorted, and then we can sit down with a cup of tea and make sure everything is relaxed and calm.
Weldmar at Home launched in July 2021, and Emma says the timing could not have been better as, since the pandemic especially, more and more people have expressed a wish to spend their last days at home, and not in hospital. “One person said to me, ‘I don’t want to die with visiting hours’, and I could completely understand that. Because we are there, they can stay at home, with family and friends, and their own belongings and comforts around them.
“I’m so proud to work for Weldmar. When I start my day I don’t just have a list of names to visit. Each individual patient is just that – an individual, and we treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve and ensure we are providing what they and their loved ones need.”
Thank you to Emma for sharing her story. If you’d like to find out about joining the Weldmar at Home team, or know someone who would, please view our current Dorset charity jobs.
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