In a typical year, we welcome around 300 guests affected by illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, MND, and we engage with many more. It has been a while, of course, since we have had the relative luxury of working in a ‘typical year’ - but as we continue to navigate our way out of the Covid-19 pandemic, we find ourselves daring to dream that we can look to the future with ambition and innovation rather than worrying that the next crisis is lurking round the corner.
First, however, we need to take stock of the situation people have found themselves in as our lives open up again to a more normal environment. In this newspaper and other media outlets, you will have read countless headlines alerting us to logjams in stretched health and social care services and the rapidly growing waiting lists to see GPs and healthcare professionals.
It is why we recognise that now, more than ever, we must give the people we support a voice. We must listen and by led by what they need, what they want, and how we can help them live better and more comfortably.
It is why we braved the threat of survey fatigue by inviting our guests to give their invaluable opinions on the topic of nursing and healthcare support in the community, and to identify where the gaps are (there are many) and the challenges (even more still).
It is why this spring and summer, as services and the community opens up, we are reinforcing the message that people need to be supported to move forward in their lives, not be left behind.
We received an enthusiastic and informative response of nearly 100 voices from our Nursing Support Survey and this information will be unpicked and used to gain knowledge and understanding of the varieties of topics guests would like to discuss with our nurses during our clinics. The main topics flagged up to us varied from symptom management, pain management, continence, mental health and general wellbeing.
Above all, and most alarmingly, screaming out the loudest from the results is that a large volume of guests disclosed they hadn’t seen their GP or nurse specialist for more than a year. Others reported that they not had a medication review for over a year. People expressed frustration, anger and disappointment. They need and want help so they can enjoy better lives. They feel forgotten. Left behind.
There is no magic wand to wave, but there is much we can do, starting with nursing clinics and one-to-ones when guests come to Leuchie for their short breaks of between four and 11 nights. Leuchie hopes these nursing clinics will help support our guests with their condition, giving them help and advice on specific issues or making referrals to other health professionals.
The nurses form part of our allied health team alongside our physiotherapist, occupational therapist and technology experts. Together, we want to empower people to live with greater independence, manage their condition and pain better and to move forward, not be left behind.
For more information about Leuchie House, please visit www.leuchiehouse.org.uk
Emma Jenson, Head of Care, Leuchie House.