"Interaction with patients"

About: Pilgrim Hospital

My husband was recently discharged from Pilgrim Hospital and transferred to The Butterfly Hospice after spending nearly 5 weeks in the Medical 8 ward.

His medical care was very good though he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer soon after admission.

This diagnosis was accompanied by the fact that we were told on the ward that it wasn't curable.

As you can imagine the news in itself was very distressing and upsetting, particularly since we only moved into the area in April this year.

What also distressed me personally was that although I visited every day, I didn't want to leave him alone in the evenings.

I had the advantage of being able to say goodbye and go out into the real world, talk with neighbours, chat with family, pick up the phone, and generally be able to unload my thoughts and feelings.

But, who was there to chat/listen to my husband left alone in his side ward with all the drips, tubes, almost constant bleeping whenever he moved, and in pain a lot of the time.

It seems to me that the staff are excellent at treating the body, but what about the mind?

He cried when he was discharged, so happy to be in quiet, calm surroundings of the hospice.

I understand that the hospital staff don't have the time to sit and chat with patients, but perhaps volunteers would be able to do this service. I am certain it would be very welcome if offered to patients - just to talk about anything and everything would bring a bit of relief and be much appreciated by those want it.

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Response from United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Dear Jan – thank you for taking the time to leave this feedback for us; it was heart-breaking to read and I cannot begin to imagine what you have been and are going through.

It is such a poignant message you have shared; the need to have someone to ‘be with’, to sit and listen and chat and you are right about it being a really important part of care and caring. I know that our nursing staff hurt because they often don’t have the time they want to have to sit with their patients recognising that in many cases this is as therapeutic (maybe even more) as a drug or as comforting as plumping a pillow.

We have recently appointed an end of life matron to support wards and patients and also an end of life facilitator specifically focused on training staff and supporting them to give the best care.

We do have some volunteers who do this; but not enough and we are actively recruiting at the moment, particularly for Pilgrim Hospital where it has been difficult to bring people in and we are actively developing the role of a volunteer specifically to support end of life care. Patients and families can also call upon our spiritual and pastoral care chaplains who are in each of our hospitals – their role is not always about religion as they play a huge part in just supporting, listening and being with our patients and their families.

Thanks again, so much, for your feedback.

My thoughts are with you and your husband and if there is anything we can do in any way then please do not hesitate to contact me directly at: jennie.negus@ulh.nhs.uk

Jennie Negus

Deputy Chief Nurse