As a Marie Curie Nurse I get to see first-hand how important good quality “End of Life Care” is. It is a marvellous privilege to be involved with a family who are caring for a terminally ill loved one.
Most people would prefer to be in their own home when they die, surrounded by their own familiar things, family and friends able to pop in without the worry of being in a hospital setting or finding a parking space and being able to see their garden that they may have created. This all adds to creating harmony and peace at this emotional time.
A Marie Curie nurse’s role is varied. We have to be prepared for all types of scenarios, from tranquil and calm to one of chaos.
We work in patients own homes completely free of charge caring for patients who have a terminal illness such as heart failure, renal failure, motor neurone disease, AIDS, cardio-pulmonary disease as well as cancer of course.
The family is usually providing most of the care but it can be extremely exhausting and certain skills may be needed when medication for example is involved. Support for the family and encouragement is sometimes all that is needed to prevent an unwanted admission to hospital for the dying patient. Reassurance that what is happening is natural and if and when there are any signs of agitation or pain, we can deliver the prescribed relief in the form of medication or simply a gentle word or two.
At 10pm every night, somewhere in the UK Marie Curie nurses will be knocking on doors to nurse a patient overnight. The family will be able to sleep well knowing that their loved one is in capable and skilled hands.
Being present at the death of a patient is as varied as the different personalities and families we meet but it is never as dramatic as they portray on the TV. I happen to believe I can sense a time before death when the spirit is hovering above the body. A relief that their final steps have been taken on this earth and their journey of illness and suffering is over.
The month of March is our GREAT DAFFODIL APPEAL
. Please support us by buying a daffodil and/or offering an hour or two of your time to collect for us.
Marie Curie Nurse Ambassador