We are now all working in the “new norm”. The way in which we support people has changed because of COVID but we are still doing home visits and hospital visits and liaising with the palliative care team and the Day Hospital on a regular basis. I thought I would write up one of my days for you to give you a real flavor of what we do to help and support people in lots of different ways at whatever stage of their journey they are on. Start of the day is usually phone calls – I will use today as an example
7.30 – 2 missed calls at 6.45 and 7 am then a received call from a patient who thought he had been forgotten as the carer hadn’t given him his breakfast yet , he thought she would be there at 6.30. He was confused and so I reassured him that the carer would be there at
8.30 as arranged and she would get him his breakfast. Then messaged the carer to relay this information so she went into the home prepared.
8.30am – Phone message from my patient liaison assistant (Ameli) She was in the hospital and the palliativos wanted to know how a patient was, who they had been to the day before to initiate treatment on. I called the carers got an update and left a voice message for Ameli so she could update the palliative care team before they go there later that day. Another voice message from Ameli regarding a prescription she is trying to get for a client regarding nappies that are provided by the SS, we agreed on the type and she will now contact the Centro Salud to get the prescription completed.
9.30am – First home visit of the day in Pedreguer to a lady whose husband passed away last week from cancer. Her son is staying with her at the moment so I called in to see how she is coping and also reassured the son who has to go back to the UK that I will be visiting regularly and that I am always on the phone if his mum needs anything – she has just finished chemo herself for lung cancer. Follow up appointment made for 2 weeks’ time but can be sooner if she calls me.
10.30am, Same area another bereavement visit to a lady who also lost her husband 3 weeks ago , she is doing OK and has gone back to her work at a local cat charity, helped her with some information about how to return certain equipment then left without a follow up apt as she says she is feeling OK but promises to call me if she feels she isn’t coping.
11.15am – Over the hill to my next client a lady with a brain tumor who we are caring for. Her husband greeted me to say he has been up all night as she is agitated and anxious and wants to get out of the bed all the time. She is currently being cared for twice daily by 2 agency carers who are jointly funded by ourselves and the patient, in a hospital bed which we arranged the delivery of from MABS. I left a voice message for Ameli to get that message to the palliativos and I also called the carers to see how she had been whilst they were attending to her that morning. Left the husband with the knowledge that the palliativos would be calling in later in the day and that they would be readjusting the meds to try to make her less anxious. Also advised the husband on the progress of his attendance allowance which we applied for on his behalf nearly 7 weeks ago. Reassured him that I will follow up with them again in a week if still nothing through. Left him more settled, and his wife was asleep and will call again in 2 days.
12.30 – Nice drive over to Benissa for half an hour with my music and time to take 5 for myself. Ameli leaves me a message to say that she has collected a client’s medication from the chemist and will be dropping it in later today. She has also arranged an MRI scan for another client who was unable to do this after his appointment last week so she will advise them now of the date and the time. 1pm – Home visit with a lady undergoing chemo and immunotherapy for her 3rd cancer. She has developed a small ulcer on the side of her foot which we brought to the attention of the oncologist on the last visit and agreed weekly dressing changes with her to try to heal this. Cleaned the wound and it looks much better, Redressed and appointment made with her for 1 weeks’ time to do it all again. 1.45 – short drive over to Moraira to collect some wigs and head scarves from a lady who is about to start chemo for breast cancer. I went over a week ago and left a few coverings and wigs with her and so she could try them on herself in private and see how she felt. Greeted by her little dog at the gate who is super protective and then managed to get into the house. The lady was wearing the wig and it looked great. I collected the rest and also gave her some advice about the side effects she may experience when the chemo starts and made sure that she has a thermometer in the house before she starts so she will know if her temperature starts to rise. No follow on appointment made but she has my number and I asked her to stay in touch and let me know how she is doing and if she needs anything at all I can pop over or she can call.
2.45 Short drive to the other side or Moraira and home visit to a client who lost her husband just 6 weeks ago and has just had a biopsy done herself for potential skin cancer. I sat and chatted with her for a while, she is very weepy but at 91 having lost her husband its hard. We talked about the rest of her week and she has things happening every day and she asked me if I could arrange to get her SIP card renewed and also arrange the appointment to get her stitches removed on Friday. I left a voice message for Ameli to see if she can arrange this and if she would be able to attend and interpret for her at the appointment. I also checked the ladies BP as she was worried, she had not had it checked for a while. It was fine and we wrote it on her record card. Janette our support worker is popping in to see this lady weekly as well to help her with her shopping and any other chores that she has as she is alone. I reassured the lady I will be back on Monday but if she needs anything then she must call me.
3.30pm back in the car and I have a missed call from another couple we are helping, he wanted our psychotherapist Ana´s phone number to change his appointment with her as he will be at the hospital with his wife on the day that they had previously arranged. 4pm – heading home for some lunch and a needed cup of tea – because of the virus I don’t put my clients who are mostly immune compromised at risk at all by stopping and eating or drinking outside of the house myself. I have a good breakfast and I take a takeaway tea with me in a morning and then eat when I get home.
4.15pm – I’m home and Ameli has left me a message to say that the lady from Moraira appointment is at 11am on Friday and she will meet her outside the Centro Salud at 10.45, she will also collect the renewed SIP ‘card from there for her.
4.30 – I return a missed call from a lady who has approached us via MABS for help with her friend in Javea. He has prostate cancer and is struggling so over the weekend I have been going in twice a day to help get him up and dressed and make his breakfast, tidy the bedroom and the bathroom and make sure he has a sandwich for the day, then in the evening making him his meal and help him get ready for bed. I now have 2 carers who are going to cover the shifts on a rota and so I can tell her the good news and pass on their phone numbers and the details.
5.45pm I meet the carers at the gentleman’s house and I go through the care plan which I have written and I introduce them to him and make sure that they know timings etc and what is expected. I also finish completing the attendance allowance form with him and say I will post it, I then handover and I leave telling the gentleman I will be in touch on Thursday after he has been to the hospital for his appointment with the consultant so he can update me. On my way home I call his friend and tell her that everything is now covered , I make sure that she has the carers numbers and they have hers and I update her about the attendance allowance form and remind her I will be in touch after Thursday.
7.30pm – I arrive home and make sure that I put all appointments in my diary and look to see what tomorrow has in store – an early get up again as starting the day in the hospital supporting a lady going through the chemo process for the first time. This is just 1 typical day and I hope it gives you all a better understanding of how we support people. We work as a wonderful team and support each other all the time too. I wanted to say a great big thank you to each and everyone of you because without your help as volunteers, or members or supporters or partners of any of the above, none of this would be possible.