How do our Nurse Practitioners help?

Alice House Nurse Practitioners, Helen and Lindsey, work closely with patients providing ongoing physical and psychological support.  Ed's story demonstrates the importance of their work more clearly than simply describing the varied and complicated tasks and procedures they carry out on a daily basis ever could.

Ed was diagnosed witha condition known as Motor Neurone Disease (MND) on the 29th August 2016 following a visit to the doctor due to feeling 'weary' for a period of time.

MND is a very complex disease.  It can affect how you walk, talk, eat, drink and breathe and sometimes there are changes to thinking and behaviour.  However, MND affects everyone differently.  Not all symptoms will affect everyone, or in the same order.  Symptoms also progress at varying s peeds, which makes the course of the disease difficult to predict.

Ed first visited Day Hospice in February 2017, he came with his cousin John and dog Daisy for a look around and to observe Day Hospice in action; he was unimpressed!

“I thought they were all old people and had no idea what the purpose of attending was.”

The next week Ed attended and stayed for an hour, he stated he would think about popping in again the next week but it was unlikely; we didn’t see Ed again for three weeks.  However, Helen and Lindsey continued to keep in touch with Ed via telephone and eventually he agreed to return to Day Hospice in May.  Prior to this poing Ed felt that the MND had been progressing slowly and steadily since diagnosis, but now things were picking up pace.

Ed has a very special relationship with his dog Daisy, and her attendance at Day Hospice was an important condition of Ed’s attendance, one did not come without the other.  They came as a package; Helen completed a risk assessment and Daisy joined the team!

Despite being very well supported at home by his GP, District Nurse, MND Team and his cousin John and Daisy – Ed was struggling more and more with daily living.  Meanwhile Ed continued to attend weekly Day Hospice along with Daisy.  During his attendance Ed was assessed weekly by Helen or Lindsey who dealt with any issues which arose including clinical assessment and prescribing which is usually undertaken by doctors and where appropriate they have liaised with the MND Team responsible for Ed’s care.

In the time that Ed has been attending Day Hospice he has made friends with people also going through challenging times.  Helen and Lindsay have spent many hours talking with Ed about the future and have had some very difficult conversations about planning for what might happen; Ed is very open and has definite wishes and beliefs relating to his future care.  The Nurse Practitioners helped when it became apparent that Ed could no longer manage some aspects of his care and liaised with District Nurses.

Ed was admitted to the Long Term Care Unit at Alice House in early September where he will live and continue to be supported by the clinical team, some of whom he already knows from Day Hospice which he is planning to continue attending.

Ed said,

“It has become a day I look forward to.  You are all caring, always smiling, joking; it doesn’t half make me feel good.  It has taken me some time to accept I can no longer care for myself.  The room I have been allocated in the Long Term Unit is exceptional; I am looking forward to a hassle free future.”

Daisy has now moved into a new home where she is well loved; Ed misses her but knows she is cared for and happy and she still visits him.

Our Nurse Practitioners, Helen and Lindsey, have provided much psychological support in helping Ed come to terms with his diagnosis and deterioration and have built trust and rapport with this fiercly independent, private man.

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Hartlepool Hospice Ltd (known locally as Alice House Hospice and formerly Hartlepool & District Hospice)
Registered office: Alice House, Wells Avenue, Hartlepool, TS24 9DA.