Gwent hospice at home nurse brings care to end-of-life patients

AS GWENT looks set to be battered by storms over the weekend, spare a thought for those workers who have to be out in all elements,

One such person is hospice-at-home nurse Paula Jacobsen, who brings compassion and care to end-of-life patients throughout the rural area she covers.

Yes, Paula says, it’s a challenge, made more so during the pandemic. And at times it’s an emotional rollercoaster but the nurse with a life time’s nursing experience, wouldn’t have it any other way.

Paula, a specialist end-of-life hospice-at-home nurse who cares for patients in their homes, believes she has the best job in the world.

Paula has been in nursing for 39 years, latterly employed by Newport-based St David’s Hospice Care as part of its Hospice at Home team

Paula, aged 56, who lives in Caerphilly, retired from her role as a district nursing team manager and took up her present position covering south and mid Powys. One of a large team, Paula sets off at night for places as diverse as Brecon, Ystrad, Builth, Llandrindod Wells, Rhayadar and surrounding areas in her ‘beat’.

And, no matter the weather, Paula and the team she works with make sure their patients do not miss out.

She said: “We work closely with specialist palliative and primary health care teams supporting patients and their families in respecting wishes and allowing a patient to be cared for and die at home or an environment of their choice with the necessary care, comfort and dignity.”

“Working during the pandemic has added to the challenges. It’s been stressful at times, having to wear PPE which can cause barriers especially when caring for someone who is dying and family who need support.

“Being unable to give a patient or family member a ‘hug’ to show that you care is difficult. Keeping two metres away unless delivering care. Not knowing if you, yourself, will contract the virus.

“Palliative care has always been a love of mine. It is an honour and a privilege to care for someone in the last days of their life.”

St David’s Hospice Care chief executive Emma Saysell said: “It’s a very difficult job which is made even more challenging with the rural nature of the area in which Paula works in Powys. We are committed to doing our utmost to allow patients the choice of where they want to die and doing everything we can to ensure that if that is at their home that they are as comfortable as they can be at all times especially at the end.

“Paula is an excellent example of our nurses who strive, even in the most trying of situations, to deliver their excellent care to their patients in Powys every day of the year, come what may.”

During the year more than 48,000 hours of care were provided by St David’s Hospice Care Hospice at Home service enabling patients to remain in their own homes if that was their choice. More than 99 per cent of patients who received Hospice at Home care were able to die at home or their usual place of residence.

St David’s Hospice Care strives to provide patients with real choice about where they receive their care and their pace of death. Across the entire service an average of 88 per cent of patients died in their preferred place.

A patient’s family said: “The Hospice at Home service made all the difference and allowed us to keep dad at home until the end which we couldn’t have otherwise have coped with. Thank you

Another said: “The nurse that came was a pleasure to have in our home. The night she came to care for my mum I slept for the first time in two weeks. Thanks to her care of my mother that night.”


[from South Wales Argus]