Christmas in the community

Published on: 18 December 2017

Tom lives a solitary life now that his lovely wife Aysha has passed away. His children live abroad and he is pretty much housebound with a bad chest and a nasty leg ulcer. Thanks to his community nursing team who have alerted a local voluntary group to Tom's social isolation, on Christmas day he is being picked up and taken to Christmas dinner in his local community. The nurses will make sure they pop in first to dress his leg ulcer and drop him in a little gift. Without them he would have a very different day.

Polly and Frank's twins were born early and they found the whole experience overwhelming. Polly thought she would just not be able to cope and Frank was so stressed by the fact they didn't have enough money for all the equipment they needed. It was coming up to Christmas and they both felt frightened and inadequate. Then they met their lovely Health Visitor who came knocking to do a new birth visit. She helped them to realise that they were fantastic parents and that the love they had for the twins would get them through most things. She helped them apply for the benefits they were entitled to and linked them into local support groups. She also gave Polly the confidence to breast feed and Frank the confidence to be a great dad. Polly and Frank and their lovely twins will be having a very special first family Christmas this year knowing that if they need any help or advice it's readily available.

Leroy had a stroke at the beginning of December and he and his family thought life would never be good again. They worried that Leroy would be spending Christmas in hospital and not able to see his loved ones. Things turned around when he was transferred to a community rehabilitation bedded unit. The staff were amazing and the atmosphere so relaxed. He got all the physio and occupational therapy he needed and has almost got back to being able to move around independently. He might not get home for Christmas but the unit have invited his family in for the day and they can all be together.

Paul was carving the Christmas turkey and the knife slipped leaving him with a nasty cut to his finger. He got through dinner but realised it was not going to stop bleeding. He so wanted to spend the day with his family and had a pork pie with his name on it for  Christmas supper! He phoned 111 and they suggested he go to his local walk in centre. The staff there were amazing and he was seen by a nurse practitioner, stitched up and back home in time for a game of charades and of course his pork pie!

Megan was so sad. Her daughter was coming over from Australia for Christmas with her three grandchildren and because of a flare up of a her COPD she had ended up in a busy medical ward at her local hospital and was not going to be at home with them. That all changed when she was visited by the discharge co-ordinator who said that she would arrange for a team of community nurses and AHPs to visit and provide her care at home. She didn't need asking twice - she was discharged home early even though she still wasn't quite better. The team visited her several times a day over the Christmas period which meant she got to watch her grandchildren opening their stockings - priceless!

Little David was 7 and had lived with a brain tumour for a year and a half. Great Ormond Street had done everything they could but unfortunately they had not been able to cure him and he was reaching the end of his life. He was a very wise and brave little boy and his children's community nursing team had helped his mummy and daddy tell him exactly what was happening. He had two wishes, one was to meet his favourite football player and his second was to have a last Christmas at home with his mummy and daddy, gran and granddad and big sister Freya, with no needles and no 'hurts'. The CCNT made both happen…

Sven is a rough sleeper. He has no family and no friends and is tormented by an enduring mental illness. He just doesn't know how he is going to get through his winter. He is cold, cold, cold and oh so hungry…… all of the time…. and his feet are so sore. Then one night walking the streets he meets the homeless health team. He's never met anyone who treats him like they do - no judgement, just kindness and compassion. They link him into the day centre where he gets support, gets his feet done by a podiatrist and advice on how to manage his world. They link him into Crisis so at least for two weeks this Christmas life is really good…

This is our community Christmas….. made better by CLCH.

I hope you are as proud of the high quality care you all deliver as I am of you. Thank you so much for all your hard work and commitment this year and I wish you and your loved ones warm wishes of the season - here's to another fantastic year ahead!

Much love,

Louise

*Names have been changed to protect patient confidentiality.  These excerpts are from the community services we provide across ten London boroughs and Hertfordshire.

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