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We’ve restarted outpatient appointments

We recently started welcoming patients back to the hospice for outpatient appointments. We caught up with Andrea Ward, Senior Specialist Nurse, to see what that means for those we care for.

What’s it been like welcoming patients back to the hospice for outpatient appointments?

“This is the first time I’ve done outpatient appointments at St Catherine’s.

There’s something very lovely about seeing people go out much more relaxed and happier than the nervous person they were coming in an hour earlier!”

How does holding outpatient appointments here at the hospice help your workload and make patient care more efficient?

“In theory having patients visit our teams will save us time and enable more visits and productivity per day, but I’m not sure it’s working out like that just yet as it’s been a lot of work typing up notes and sending letters and emails afterwards. The plan is for us to have five appointments per day which is more appointments than we complete in home visits.

The really brilliant thing about bringing patients here is that they symbolically and physically come into our care – this can be a bit emotional and uncomfortable, but I think it’s a really good step – people willingly step inside our hospice and see that it’s not how they feared

I truly believe that the ‘forearmed is forewarned’ approach is much preferable to an ‘ignorance is bliss’ approach. By stepping in the door our patients are facing their fears and happily those fears when faced diminish in size.”

How do the outpatient appointments work?

“We’re offering nurse appointments twice a week at present with five appointments each day.”

What sort of things do you help patients with during their outpatient appointments?

“I’ve done a lot of ReSPECT (Recommended Summary Plan for Emergency Care and Treatment) conversations where we talk about ‘what you would like if’, ‘what you would want to avoid’, the values a person has and the things that are most important for each individual person. Because I’ve worked in ICU (Intensive Care Unit) I particularly love having these conversations. I’ve been involved with giving people lots of really invasive treatments and I’ve seen how hard it can be.

I really like discussing the ‘what might happens’ so that we can make a plan to avoid crises and enable patients wishes to be followed”

Have patients been pleased to be able to come into the hospice and see you?

“People have always preferred a face-to-face approach and this was often fed back to us during COVID waves. Being actually seen helps people feel seen I guess! Coming to an outpatient appointment can be a day out for our patients too especially if they get a nice coffee whilst they’re here.”

To find out more about our care and how we can help visit the our services page

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