Crawley nurse highlights vital overnight work at hospice

St Catherine's Hospice senior staff nurse Sue White - picture submitted
St Catherine's Hospice senior staff nurse Sue White - picture submitted

As hundreds of women prepare for the St Catherine’s Hospice Midnight Walk at the weekend, a night nurse has spoken of the vital overnight work happening there.

Senior staff night nurse Sue White from Pound Hill, who is joining some of her colleagues in the overnight fundraiser in Horsham on Saturday (July 2), said the night team are often there to bring care and comfort when family cannot.

“During the day, many patients have the company of family and friends visiting, bringing them comfort and reassurance, but at night-time, as the day’s natural activities slow down and come to a close, and most visitors leave, we’re there to help patients feel safe, settled and as comfortable as possible to aid good periods of sleep.

“When people are less well, changes in their sleep pattern are not uncommon and their need for care and symptom control still continues through the night.

“Night-time can bring heightened anxiety for our patients; people fear dying in their sleep, and they are sometimes more aware of their pain and symptoms in the quieter and dimmed night atmosphere.

“We understand these anxieties and give individual care and support when a patient is finding the night difficult. Simply sitting with someone by their bed can bring them relief and reassurance.”

They can also bring comfort to family wanting to give overnight support to their loved ones.

She said: “Family members or friends often stay when their relative is becoming more poorly or dying and they are always made to feel welcome. We offer them support as well as help them to get some rest.

“We have recliner chairs by patients’ bedsides and there is a relatives’ room on each ward with pull out sofa beds.

“A while ago, we were able to put two beds together so that a lady could lie next to her husband in the days before he died, allowing the couple extra closeness at such an important time.”

There is also telephone support to the hospice’s community patients, their carers or bereaved relative who ring in need of help overnight on a range of issues.

Sue said: “It’s often the reassurance of being able to talk to someone in the middle of the night that can make a real difference to people.

“Someone may need advice about symptom control, medication issues or support when someone has died.

“As well as helping them at the time of their call, we refer them to other Community Nurses or Doctors if necessary, ensuring they get the best help possible. During the night, we also have support from on-call Senior Nurses and can contact Doctors for advice if we need to.

“Every patient has their own individual needs and we always respect and respond to these, to ensure that St Catherine’s provides high quality, round the clock care - it’s a privilege to give it.”

Nearly 400 ladies have signed up to this year’s Midnight Walk, which starts and finishes at Horsham Park. With three different routes, seven, 13 or 20 miles, the beach themed event, sponsored by Assurity Consulting, promises participants a fantastic evening.

Many women taking part have personal experience of St Catherine’s care and, with so many coming together to raise funds to support their local hospice, the night always has an electric atmosphere.

Walkers can expect a fun warm-up, welcome drink, return breakfast, goody bag and medal in return for their efforts pounding the pavements.

The hospice needs to raise £17,000 for each day of the care it provides. It is too late to sign up for this year’s event, but for more information about the hospice’s work and other ways to support them go to www.stch.org.uk or call the St Catherine’s Events Team on 01293 447364.