Nursing prepares for the future
Cranford Hospice recently appointed its first Clinical Nurse Specialist.
“The focus of this role is to lead and coordinate the clinical nursing care of patients in the community,” says Clinical Services Manager Karen Franklin.
Cranford Hospice has eight Inpatient Unit beds for patients who need to come in for specialist care. However, 92% of all patients receive their care at home from the Community Nursing service.
This team of nine experienced nurses are the face of Cranford for over 650 patients a year from Takapau to Wairoa. Most of them have worked at Cranford for well over five years; longest serving nurse, Marie Kennedy was recognised recently for 25 years of service.
To support the Community Nursing service's high case load, Cranford altered the team's leadership role to a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Charge of Community Nursing, so that team leader Lorna Hulkes could focus more on patient care, clinical support and the mentoring of nurses. Lorna gained her Masters in Clinical Nursing last year.
In her new role she prioritises patient needs from first referral to end of service, and decides the best way to support each patient. Cranford's patient numbers are traditionally higher during the winter, but in July, 203 patients were being cared for by the hospice; the highest patient number ever - and 25% more than the same time last year.
Napier district Community Nurses Marie Kennedy (left) and Diane Reid (right) meet every morning with Clinical Nurse Specialist Lorna Hulkes (middle) to review patients.
Indications are that future patient numbers will be at this level for the whole of the year, not just the winter months. Patient care is always paramount at Cranford, but the higher patient numbers are placing more priority on the way Cranford coordinates patient care. Lorna sees this as a daily challenge for all hospice staff, especially the nursing staff and doctors.
“We have got to find ways of working smarter because patient numbers will be increasing. Patients come as a package with their family and that's nice because you learn so much more knowing the whole person,” she says.
”It never fails to amaze me how resilient people are, and how they live daily with a life threatening illness. It is incredibly rewarding and a privilege to work here. I go and visit a patient to share of my knowledge and skill but more often than not I come away having learned so much myself.”