For our team of specialist nurses, who provide special hospice care in the family home, each new day brings a different journey, different work environment and a different care plan to deliver.
The constant adjustment comes down to the often changing medical requirements of the child and the broader needs of the rest of the family who care for them.
Lucy Coy, a nurse with our LauraLynn Care Team for close to four years, knows this all too well. As part of our outreach team, Lucy visits children in their homes each day, providing the best care possible. Her role also sees her visiting families who’ve recently been bereaved as part of LauraLynn’s ongoing support for the family.
There’s no typical day, or visit: “Home visits can either be short symptom assessment visits or longer visits for up to three or four hours to assist the parents in caring for their child, or to enable them to take a break.
“Depending on the child’s age and ability, I will normally bring activities and engage the child and their siblings in play during the visit. If the child is very unwell or nearing the end of life, the visit is much more about providing hands on care to the child and support to their family.
Because hospice care entails a holistic approach that addresses the physical, social, emotional and psychological needs of not just the child who’s sick, but the family as a whole, a nurse like Lucy needs to have a wide range of clinical, practical and social skills to draw from.
Experience, coaching and ongoing education are critical to developing and maintaining the broad range of skills essential for the provision of high-quality, safe care to children with life-limiting conditions. LauraLynn is committed to supporting staff in this respect.
Having spent time studying a Masters in Children’s Palliative/Complex Care at the National University of Ireland, Galway, Lucy believes the qualification has given her better insight into the care needs of children with life-limiting conditions:
“I learned many things completing my Masters programme which help me to do my job every day. The course emphasises the whole family dynamic and teaches you assessment skills to help assess and improve quality of life for children and their families. And particularly the placement days as they gave me an opportunity to meet other professionals providing care to similar children in different settings.”