Patrick our Day Services Manager and Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in Palliative Care blogs on what his role entails.

“I’m head of the Day Services department at Martlets and overall outpatient services. My role covers two areas: the therapies and groups we provide for outpatients – such as our Choir, Mindfulness, Shiatsu massage- and the clinical care we provide for outpatients such as pain control and symptom management.

The aim of our Day Services as a whole is to reach patients earlier, not just when their terminal illness has fully taken hold but from when they’re first diagnosed. Starting advanced care planning sooner rather than later can help avoid hospital admissions and reduce distress for our patients throughout their illness.

Terminal illnesses are often thought of as very quick, a matter of weeks, and the care we provide as just a short stay on our In-Patient unit. And whilst that is true in some cases a lot of other terminal illnesses can last months or years, and the care we provide is much more extensive.

More than Cancer

As a hospice team we don’t just see cancer patients. That’s huge myth about hospice care I’d like to dispel.

We see people with any terminal illness, which could be neurological such as MND or Parkinson’s, renal failure, heart failure or those who are elderly/frail and are still living independently. And there’s nothing to say a patient might not have more than one illness to consider, they may have dementia and heart failure or be elderly/frail with renal failure.

More than an illness

Working in Day Services means you need to be passionate, compassionate, and treat people as individuals, not just as a patient with an illness. Everyone will manage and deal with the stages of their illness uniquely and it’s important as the person guiding them through it to recognise that. 

One lady with MND came to see me, on her very first session she wouldn’t even look me in the eye because she just wasn’t ready to face me, or deal with her illness. Over a few sessions we were able to talk about her illness, how we could manage it, and now she happily looks me in the eye as we take on her illness together.

I have special relationships with all of my patients and I support them, empower them, and give them strength to face their illness. Being terminally ill often makes people feel powerless so if I can empower them to book appointments or attend classes, and give them back even a small amount of control, I’ll do that. People are living their lives and we want to help them continue to do that for as long as they can.

It’s so important we make that connection with patients early on, to get them involved with us so we can give them the best care we can and as much support as they need. 

Further Information

In order to access our Day Services including our clinics, groups, classes, and complementary therapies you must be referred. Referrals will be accepted from Doctors, Registered Nurses, and Allied Health Professionals. If you wish to self-refer talk to your GP first.

In order to access our services, you or your loved one must live within Brighton & Hove and the surrounding area and have been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

To access our Day Services please contact us on 01273 273400 and ask to speak to the Day Services team or email [email protected]

If you are a healthcare professional and would like more information please click here