Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, our specialist ward in Exeter has remained open and our nurses have continued to deliver end-of-life care to patients in their own homes. We asked two of our nurses to share their experiences of being on the frontline during the pandemic.
“I’m Julie Wakley, Ward Manager at the Hospiscare’s palliative care ward in Exeter, and I’ve been a Hospiscare nurse for 17 years.
“The 12-bed ward has carried on, ‘business as usual’, during the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve continued to accept admissions 7 days-a-week.
“Today I spent time with a gentleman who is dying. His daughters have just arrived and they have travelled over 100 miles to be here. Over the past couple of days, I have had several conversations with them over the phone supporting them in making the decisions about when to come.
“We see people for such a short window of their life but they share with us so much. I think that makes the job; you become passionate about what you do to make it as good as we can for them.
“A simple hug or just a touch on the shoulder to support families; these are the things we haven’t been able to do because of the distance we need to keep at the moment to keep everybody safe. I think our nurses find it tough because they can’t do the job they normally do; smiling and laughing with patients as although people are headed towards the end of life, there is still a lot of laughter and enjoyment at times.”
“My name is Sasha Turner and I am a nurse with Hospiscare@Home.
“We are quite visible in the community and we have to put PPE on outside the patient’s house before we can go in. A lot of passers-by have witnessed us putting on PPE and plenty of times I have been congratulated or applauded and people have said ‘Well done nurse!’ It makes me feel very proud to be a frontline worker.
“It is a completely different way of life at the moment but we just get on as a team and do it. It has been challenging but I love being a nurse; I’ve been a nurse since I was 18.
“Coronavirus is absolutely awful but it’s not going to stop me looking after my patients.”