Caring in the Community

Caring in the Community

20 Aug 2020

Patient Care

Our Community Nurse Specialist team are usually out and about every day, visiting patients all over Bristol and the surrounding areas. They care for our patients in their own homes, giving advice on symptom  control, medication, and offering emotional support, not just to patients but their families also. The range of illnesses they see patients with are vast, and include Cancer, Motor Neurone Disease, Respiratory and Cardiac Failure to name but a few.

At the moment, where it’s absolutely needed, visits are still happening in person with appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) in place. The team have adapted quickly to be able to facilitate this as best as possible. They’ve moved away from each nurse having their own caseload, and instead, the team share patients meaning they can offer more regular phone and video calls.

Emma is one of our Community Nurse Specialists and tells us about how it’s been for her.

“For me, getting used to working digitally was something I had to adapt to. We had to move really fast as guidance around visiting was changing daily. Initially it felt really strange not being able to meet with people in their homes, and of course working from home myself.

Usually when someone is referred to us they are understandably anxious and don’t know what to expect. Meeting face to face helps to alleviate that; part of our job is to make people feel at ease and fully supported. So not having face to face contact didn’t sit comfortable with me at first. What I’ve learnt however, is that the skills and experience gained in this role are as useful over the phone as in person. One of my new patients recently said to me that he feels like he knows me, even though we haven’t met!

On reflection, I can see how throughout all of this, my colleagues and patients are incredibly adaptable. It didn’t take long to be able to communicate with patients face to face with the technology available. I’m currently supporting an 80 year old lady via a video call! When I spoke to her partner, she told me that as a couple they agreed that video calls are the next best thing, and that it’s just nice to be able to see someone’s face, even if it is on a screen.

My patients have been really honest with me and have given me positive feedback, which is great to hear. One of my patients contacted me concerned about some swelling on her face, I was able to do a video call so that I could see her, make an assessment and take appropriate action.

It’s really great to see how much value I can still add from home, it’s not ideal but we’ve met the challenge head on and it’s working. But don’t get me wrong, I miss seeing my patients so much. As great as digital is, I can’t wait to get back to normal.”

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