Stories from the Heart – Lesley & Jacquie
Community team nurses from Woking & Sam Beare Hospices care for over 1,200 patients in their homes each year. Working alongside the Community Team are a specialist group of nurses and Health Care Assistants called the CoSI Team (Coordinated, Safe, Integrated) whose role is to provide support for families and care for patients in their homes in the last 6-8 weeks of their lives.
CoSI is a partnership of community care organisations in North West Surrey, commissioned and led by NW Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group. It is a collaborative service with the care team coordinated by Woking & Sam Beare Hospices as lead provider.
CoSI Team Lead and Coordinator Lesley and CoSI Community Nurse, Jacquie are both based at Woking Hospice and talk very openly about their roles:
“We like to describe what we do as old fashioned, hands on nursing. We’ll do whatever needs to be done for our patients and are there for their families to provide advice and reassurance as well.
What makes our role so important is that we are able to spend time with the people we visit. Like the Hospice nurses we can go the extra mile for each and every patient. For example, our nurses will sit with patients for a few hours allowing their carers to leave the house and take a break. We will care for patients through the night if needed. Our care helps to prevent unnecessary and sometimes traumatic hospital admissions as we provide full 24-hour, 7-day a week support – when a patient’s condition changes, rather than panic calls to the emergency services, the family knows we are there to give advice and can make a visit if required.
You only get one chance to get it right when someone dies, so we want to make sure that every single patient we have the privilege of caring for, is well-looked after at that crucial time and even afterwards. We are often asked to ‘lay out’ the loved one in the moments afterwards. This might mean giving them a wash or dressing them in their favourite outfit and sometimes doing their hair and make-up. In one family I remember, the lady passed away at the son’s house, so he drove all the way back to hers to get her best dress so that we could lay her out wearing it. It is something that you might never think of until it happens, but to have a peaceful and serene lasting memory of a loved one can be a huge comfort at a very sad time.”
Jacquie: “After having had other roles, working for CoSI and being based at the Hospice was like coming home for me. I love my work and the support we are able to provide. We are such a close-knit team and we could not do this job without each other. You can get upset and emotional – that’s natural, but the support here is absolutely fantastic and that’s what makes it so much easier.”
Lesley: “The CoSI team has recently won a national End of Life Care Champions Award. Demonstrating how proud we are of the work we do, we chose Heather Small’s song ‘Proud’ to be played at the prize-giving. Not only is CoSI delivering an excellent standard of care to local people and their relatives, it is a real example of how different professionals and organisations can come together to give a better service to our patients. I know it has been very rewarding for everyone to see that the commissioning of CoSI has resulted in greater collaboration across organisations with better outcomes for local people.”
Thanks to Lesley and Jacquie for contributing their story and image.
For New Build Appeal updates go to www.wsbhospices.co.uk/NewBuild