A nationwide nursing network

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THe Marie Curie Nursing Service helps people who are approaching the end of their lives to remakin at home if they wish to, through its nationwide network of Marie Curie Nurses who provide nursing care at home.

They cover 95 per cent of the UK. The service is free to the people they care for, their families and carers.

Their core service is one-to-one overnight nursing from a Registered Nurse or Senior Healthcare Assistant in a patient’s home, usually for eight or nine hours.

In some parts of the UK, they can also offer shorter shifts, evening shifts and day shifts.

In a limited number of areas, they also run a rapid response service in which nurses go in to a patient’s home at short notice in a crisis. They want to offer this service more widely, but need an agreement with local NHS trusts to provide it.

When planning a patient’s care, the District Nurse may mention the Marie Curie Nursing Service and discuss whether it would be appropriate to request a Marie Curie Nurse. If so, they will also discuss what visits would be best (eg overnight or daytime) and what number or frequency of visits would be appropriate.

In consultation the District Nurse will decide what hours of care are needed. A night shift is usually from 10pm to 7am but it may be possible to negotiate different times through the District Nurse.

The District Nurse will also consider whether nursing needs require a Registered Nurse or Senior Healthcare Assistant.

Clinical Nurse Specialists visit at home if someone can’t make it to the hospice. They spend time listening and identifying problems and anxieties and have specialist knowledge of symptom relief and helping patients to make choices.

Their nurse specialists identify other supporting services and link in with members of the hospice and community teams, such as social workers, caring services, physiotherapists, specialist palliative care doctors and District Nurses (as most hands on care is provided by the District Nursing service).

Clinical Nurse Specialists can be involved at any stage of a person’s illness and not just at end of life.

Marie Curie Nurses care for people in the last few months or weeks of their lives. Macmillan Nurses care for people with cancer from when they are first diagnosed.

Marie Curie Nurses generally spend several hours at a time in a person’s home providing nursing care and emotional support, often overnight. Macmillan Nurses usually spend up to an hour in a person’s home providing advice on pain management and symptom control together with emotional support.