7 Aug 2020 Care
Kirkwood Nurses continue supporting families throughout the crisis
When James Pratt’s condition deteriorated during the coronavirus pandemic, Kirkwood Nurse Fiona Marshall was on hand to support the family with whatever they needed.
18 months ago, James Pratt, of Bradley, was referred to Kirkwood’s Community Nursing Team by his GP, who though they could help manage the symptoms of his chronic lung condition until the end of his life. Kirkwood Nurse, Fiona Marshall, helped to manage his symptoms and supported both him and his family as his condition deteriorated.
James and his family had regular meetings with Fiona and visited Kirkwood’s Support & Therapy Centre where he was able to meet people in similar situations and access support. Kelly’s parents also both attended Breathe Better, a five-week course offering advice and support to help James and his family manage his symptoms and improve his quality of life.
James’ daughter, Kelly Adams, reflects on their experience with Kirkwood.
Kelly said: “Dad was end of life, we knew he wasn’t going to get better and that his condition was going to deteriorate. He was ill for a while and started deteriorating about 18 months ago. That’s when his GP referred him to Kirkwood to help with his breathing and manage his symptoms.
“We had our first meeting with Fiona at home. Fiona visited us and put us in the picture of what her role and Kirkwood’s role was and told us that they were there as a support function. After the first meeting with Fiona, we then had either two weekly or monthly meetings with her and she kept us in the loop of what to expect, what was going well and what wasn’t, and how to manage it.
“Fiona was very supportive. I had asked her to be very blunt and honest with me from the start. Any questions or concerns that we had; we always got a very sympathetic but honest answer. She put us in touch with various people across Kirkwood if she wasn’t available. I could ring the Advice Line and there would be someone there to bounce an idea off or just to run something by.”
James and his wife with his daughter, Kelly, and her husband on their wedding day
With Fiona regularly supporting the family, Kelly hadn’t needed to phone Kirkwood’s 24/7 Advice Line during James’s illness. But that changed on Sunday 7th June. As James’s condition started to deteriorate, Kelly got in touch with the team at Kirkwood via the Advice Line, who then facilitated a call from 111.
After discussing his symptoms with the 111 Consultant, James was admitted to hospital, and spent the next 10 days there before returning home.
“During those 10 days I think I spoke to Fiona four or five times. Fiona and the Palliative Care Team arranged extra oxygen at home, a hospital bed and everything we could have possibly needed for Dad to be able to come out of hospital. Fiona also organised for Carers and the District Nurse to start visiting.
“Dad came home on Tuesday 16th June and spent his last 10 days at home. Within those 10 days I had three consultations with Fiona, either over the phone or via video conferencing. All the way through, Fiona more than managed our expectations as a family and, if I'm being completely honest, if we hadn’t had that level of support, I would not have known what to do.
“During those 10 days, I was having to administer oral medication that I'd never heard of and didn’t understand. The Kirkwood Advice Line team and Fiona talked me through exactly what I needed to do, when to do it and what symptoms to look for. It was textbook, step-by-step, clear communication and we could not have asked for any more from the team.
“It was always Dad’s wish to pass away at home and we would not have been able to do that without the advice and support we got from Kirkwood. Fiona was always there. Even when we hit the pandemic and she couldn’t physically come and visit, she would do a video consultation and then relay it back to me in a phone consultation about what steps we needed to take next.
“If we hadn’t of had a pandemic, I actually think we would’ve had the same level of consistency from the team. I don’t think doing it over the phone has impacted in any way shape or form. I could not fault the communication or the level of care that we got.
“Dad thought the world of Fiona. He said she was so nice, caring, honest and that’s what he needed. But I think it was more so because she made me and mum feel at ease to be able to deal with what was going to come.
“On Monday 22nd June, Fiona advised me that it would be a good time to take leave from work. Then on the Friday dad passed away. I knew as soon as she subtly told me, she was indirectly telling me that he wasn’t going to see six weeks. The way she delivered stuff; it was amazing. We wouldn’t have been able to carry out dad’s wishes if Fiona and the team hadn’t been there.
“As a family, we are so thankful that we had the opportunity and the exposure to experience that, because I think now, when I talk to other people, I can talk from experience that Kirkwood is not just a place associated with death. They actually care, they are just amazing people that are so good at their job, I just don’t think they get recognised enough.
“Thank you to Fiona, the Kirkwood team, the District Nurses and the Marie Curie Carers.”
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