My name is Debbie Sharkey and I am one of the nurses who cares for local people on the Inpatient Unit here at Northern Ireland Hospice. Our job is to offer dedicated, compassionate care to every patient during their final weeks and days of life. My colleagues are some of the most experienced and highly-trained nurses in the whole of Northern Ireland and the care we offer here is the very best available.
But, we have a problem.
An increasing number of patients arrive with us these days with multiple, complex medical conditions, needing immediate nursing attention. It’s crucial that we can diagnose and treat their symptoms as quickly as possible and get them settled in with us as soon as we can. Because, as you can imagine, time is very precious for both the patient and their families.
Keeping an eye on patients’ vital signs is a crucial part of getting the care right straight away. We achieve this by taking frequent readings of a patient’s blood pressure, checking their heart rate and monitoring their breathing. Most of the time, we have to do this manually – but our challenge today is that more of our patients are needing this ‘intensive’ monitoring and specialist nursing care.
As hospice nurses we want to make sure we are able to deliver the highest standards of care to all our patients and their families. Sometimes, however, it’s difficult to balance the time needed to monitor vital signs and administer medications – and the time to just be with our patients and families, supporting and comforting them along their journey. We also know that, when a patient needs to be closely monitored, having one of us bustling in every five minutes can be extremely intrusive at a time when they need calm and peace together.
We need a better solution for our patients – and this is why we need your help
There is a new generation of computerised monitoring equipment now available to buy that can keep track of all these vital signs automatically – and it can be linked to our nurse-call system. So, we can set the monitor up for someone who’s very poorly and leave it running in the room – knowing that if there’s a sudden change we’ll be alerted immediately so we can react straight away. It’s better for the patient and their family because we’re not in and out of their room the whole day disturbing them and it’s better for us because we can devote our time where it’s needed most, knowing our patients are being safely monitored.
Simply put, having access to this new patient monitor technology at the hospice would mean that we can offer the very best care for these, our most vulnerable patients, here at the hospice – in their comfortable bed, in their private en-suite bedroom; with their loved ones by their side.
What we need
- The patient monitor I told you about costs £2,333.40 – but it is just one of the new pieces of equipment we’d dearly love to have right now.
- We also urgently need to buy two blood-pressure monitors – these are £1,316 each.
- Intravenous infusion pumps cost £1,500 and we need three.
- A brand new ECG (electro-cardiogram) heart monitor will cost £2,500.
- Finally, we need to replace our syringe drivers (which automatically deliver medicines in the right doses) – but these are £1,400 apiece, and we need three of these too.
In total we need to find £16,165.40.
One of our patients Ann, who is staying with us at the moment, is exactly the kind of patient who would directly benefit from the patient monitor I described. Her lovely husband, Roy, has very kindly written about his experience of Ann’s care. I urge you to read it, it explains better than I can how important it is we have this equipment.
How you can help
£38.89 - 60 people giving this would allow us to buy the new patient monitor.
£131.60 – 10 people giving this would fund the cost of one blood-pressure monitor.
£50 - 50 people giving this would help fund the cost of one Intravenous infusion pump.
£125 – 20 people giving this would allow us to buy the ECG (electro-cardiogram) heart monitor.
£28 - 50 people giving this would fund the cost of one syringe driver.
To make a donation to our Urgent Equipment Appeal, please click here