As the nights start to draw in and the temperatures drop, many of us might be turning our thoughts towards Christmas.
For most people, it’s a time to be together – to catch up with family and friends, to celebrate those relationships and look back on the year which is drawing to an end.
The hectic Christmas period might bring with it the added burden of intensive planning, stressful shopping and long journeys – but most of us would agree that the feeling of togetherness that we get as a result of all those preparations makes it all worthwhile.
The team of Hospice at Home nurses working as part of Rennie Grove Hospice Care feel the festive pressure more than most.
Their aim is always to avoid unnecessary and distressing hospital admissions for patients, but this is never felt more keenly than at Christmas.
One of the guiding principles of our organisation is to provide treatment for people where they want to be, which is usually in their own home, with their loved ones close at hand.
By being at the end of a phone, at any time of the day and night, our nurses are able monitor a patient’s symptoms and be on hand rapidly to administer pain relief.
You might not know that several of our nurses are also qualified to prescribe drugs in appropriate cases, and we can arrange for a ‘just in case’ box of medication to be safely stored at each patient’s house so that their specific symptoms can be brought under control at any time of the day or night.
Without such a rapid response, symptoms and pain can escalate, requiring an admission to hospital.
If that happens, there’s an immediate knock-on effect for the family involved.
Instead of being together, they are forced apart – visiting hours must be observed and, however hard the hospital staff work to put a human face on the experience, the clinical coldness of the ward replaces the reassuring warmth of home.
That’s a situation that would never be on anyone’s Christmas list.
During the 12 days of Christmas our nurses will travel more than 4,000 miles and provide almost 1,300 hours of patient care.
Rising patient numbers and escalating fuel prices mean our mileage expenses are growing, too.
Christmas at home in the heart of your family may be priceless – but sadly there is a real cost that we must cover to make this happen.
Could you help keep our nurses on the road and our patients at home?
A donation of just £18 could fund a journey to support a family whose daughter is dying.
A donation of £45 could fund two round trips to help a patient whose advancing illness is causing him pain.
If our nurses can get to him in time then they can alleviate his pain, control his symptoms and reassure his family. One more hospital admission prevented – one more family together for Christmas.
If you could help us keep families together this Christmas, visit www.renniegrove.org or call 01442 890222 to make a donation today. Thank you.