Laura Newall is a Senior Carer in our Rapid Personalised Care Service (RPCS) which provides specialist care at home. Here, she talks about her role and the importance of the service.
“I joined Peace Hospice Care in February this year as a Carer in the RPCS and have since taken on the role of Senior Carer in the service. My role is 50% clinical and 50% non-clinical and my time is split between providing care in patients’ homes and the RPCS office in the Hospice building – supporting colleagues, being involved in the recruitment process, training newly recruited carers into the service and helping to manage the team to ensure that we are continuing to provide the highest standard of care at all times.
We provide specialised care for people at the end of life to support them in being able to stay at home safely and comfortably. Patients are referred to the service and care is provided for a period of up to 12 weeks and will begin within just 48 hours after the referral is accepted. We can make up to 4 visits a day for an individual – helping with personal care, checking for pressure sores, supporting our patients with eating and drinking, showing empathy and emotional support and working closely with our Palliative Response Team and District Nurses to provide a full holistic approach.
We also provide emotional support for the patients’ families which might be something as simple as making a cup of tea and chatting about the family member’s life with the relative. People just want someone to listen to them – they might show you photos and talk about memories. Sadly too, some of our patients have no families and we might be the only person they see. That’s why this support is so important. We’re also able to provide families with information about our bereavement services to help support them moving forward.
This service is incredibly important and growing rapidly – it has only been running a year, we had our first anniversary on 1st July following a successful pilot. The need for such a service was originally identified as key to helping ease the pressure on hospitals, and also bridging a gap in providing support and care for patients and their families who wished to die at home. The team were carrying out 70-75 visits a day with approximately 9 Carers to begin with – our numbers have steadily increased and at our peak we carried out over 180 visits a day with around 17 Carers. Our rounds fluctuate a lot but luckily we have been able to increase our RPCS team.
It’s an increasingly important service too – we know that more people are wanting to die at home, and that’s only increased with the COVID-19 pandemic. Dying in your own home means being surrounded by people you love in a place of comfort, safety and familiarity.
I see what we do as a privilege. We make that person’s last days as pain-free and dignified as possible – I don’t think you can put a price on getting that right. We show our patients and their families love and care when they need it most. It means that our patients have the best care possible at the end of their lives and that families’ last memories of their loved ones are filled with smiles and calm and not pain or sorrow.”