Hospice staff will spend Christmas looking after terminally ill patients

This post first appeared on Nottingham Post. Read the original article.

While many of us settle down in a Christmas dinner-filled haze, staff at Nottinghamshire Hospice will be getting ready to spend the night with terminally ill patients.

Among them will be healthcare assistant Jenny Flowers, of Sutton-in-Ashfield.

The 25-year-old is part of the Hospice at Home team, which provides nursing care for adults with terminally ill and life-limiting illnesses in the comfort of their own homes.

Jenny, who typically works in the Mansfield and Newark areas, will stay overnight with a dying patient and their family on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Describing her work, she said: "It's supporting the patient in their last weeks and days of their life.

"It's also providing support and comfort to the family as well because it's a difficult time."

Jenny Flowers

Jenny has been a healthcare assistant for the past eight years and has worked "most Christmases".

She said: "I find it a really rewarding time to work. If a patient is quite poorly then it's difficult all year round, but especially at Christmas time.

Healthcare assistant Jenny Flowers with patient Jean Talbot, 86.

"I couldn't pick just one thing that's the most rewarding. I think it's a mix of things - being there in somebody's last moments of their life and supporting families when they're most in need."

Nottinghamshire Hospice, on Woodborough Road, currently has 77 patients accessing the Hospice at Home service.

It is staffed by up to 15 nurses and healthcare assistants each night, looking after patients and their carers in their own homes free of charge to the patient.

The service is offered 365 days a year, predominantly at night.

Jo Polkey, director of care at Nottinghamshire Hospice, said: "It's a really difficult time for families who may be facing their last few days or weeks with someone - at any time it's difficult but Christmas is such an important time of the year.

"For someone to die over Christmas is devastating - even at any time - it's incredibly difficult.

"A lot of services stop over Christmas and New Year but it's really important that our services continue."