Derbyshire resident, Kay Ellis, is helping to raise awareness of the work of Marie Curie Nurses in Derbyshire, following the care her mother Moira received at home from the nurses before she died.
Kay and her family got help from Marie Curie Nurses via a pilot scheme the charity launched in Derbyshire last year, which enables terminally ill people and their carers to contact the charity directly to request free nursing care at home.
The Marie Curie Nursing Service in Derbyshire delivers free care to more than 500 people each year and is normally accessed through a referral from a GP or District Nurse.
The self referral pilot was set up to give more choice and autonomy to people who may be unaware of support services available to them.
Kay said: “Mum was diagnosed with a brain tumour in July 2011. She wanted to stay at home, so our family tried to keep her there. We were struggling to get help caring for Mum and then we found out about the self-referral scheme. As soon as we contacted Marie Curie they pulled out all the stops to get a nurse in to help look after mum at home.
“I found the self-referral scheme very easy as it gave us control and meant that we didn’t have to wait on anyone else to come back to us. When the staff from Marie Curie first came to see us, we went through what Mum and the rest of the family needed.
“Mum was bed bound downstairs and the nurse stayed with her, chatted to her and made sure she was comfortable and not in pain. Mum found it very reassuring to speak to someone other than just us lot and all the nurses were all really professional, friendly, caring, kind and sympathetic. We knew Mum was in safe hands.
“I’d definitely recommend the self-referral service and Marie Curie Nurses. They really helped us out when we were struggling with cover to care for Mum and they were a great support. We’re deeply indebted to them for the care they gave Mum and the rest of our family.”
Marie Curie Ambassador and Derbyshire resident, Edwina Currie, said: “A diagnosis of cancer is what we all dread to hear. When the disease has become terminal, for many people the NHS is not the best place to be: they want to come home. That’s where Marie Curie nurses come in. We’re fortunate that Derbyshire is the first place in the UK where anyone can access the Marie Curie Nursing service directly. The pilot has been running for over a year now; we’d like terminally ill people and their carers to know that they can access the care they need to be able to spend their final days in their place of choice, without charge.
“Lots of people are unaware of the free service Marie Curie Nurses provide and often struggle to care for loved ones on their own, especially at night. It’s also worth knowing that our nurses care for people with other terminal illnesses like heart failure, chronic lung disease and motor neurone disease as well as with cancer.”
To find out more information, please call Marie Curie Cancer Care on 0800 206 1464 or if you have a District Nurse, ask them to refer you. Carers can phone on behalf of the person they are looking after. People need to be 18 or over and living in Derbyshire with a terminal illness requiring nursing care at home to be eligible.
The charity is also looking for volunteers with local knowledge to help raise awareness of the pilot programme and get the word out to as many Derbyshire communities as possible by delivering posters and leaflets and coming up with ideas of where to distribute them. So whether you’ve got a couple of hours or days to spare, please contact us to spread the word on: 0845 305 2191 or visit: www.mariecurie.org.uk/volunteering.