THIS IS A CALL FOR ACTION…..FROM A NURSE ON THE FRONT LINE….

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I have just finished clapping for front line workers. It gets me every time. The first week I really cried. This week I felt quite proud. Anyway…this is a call to action. I don’t often do them so…. sit up and listen.

Its mad how people’s lives’ weave in and out of each other. Its mad how many people will be touched by COVID 19 and the impact it is having. So…I could tell you about how one death, that of Aimee O’Rourke, has impacted on the world I live in in a way that I can’t even describe. I could tell you how much she was loved and respected in the community. I could even tell you how strong I saw that women be once. But that’s not what I am here for.

I have a friend and she has a daughter named Kat. Where do I start…. I could also say a lot about Kat. About the strength I have seen in her. But she would hate that. She once told me about Kintsugi: the art of precious scars. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold — built on the idea that in embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art. Every break is unique and instead of repairing an item like new, the 400-year-old technique actually highlights the “scars” as a part of the design. Using this as a metaphor for healing ourselves teaches us an important lesson: Sometimes in the process of repairing things that have broken, we actually create something more unique, beautiful and resilient. She was talking about someone I love very much when she told me this …. But I hope that Kat will reflect on this for herself in the months to come.

 

Kat is a newly qualified nurse. She is working in critical care in the QEQM hospital in Margate. The same hospital where Aimee worked and died.  And I know that Kat has been through some of the most heart breaking few weeks of her life. I know that she has sobbed because she can’t do no more. I know. I also know that she gets up each time she has a shift and she go to work. No matter what.  Sometimes with almost no sleep. But I will let her tell you about that.  She was part of the team that cared for Aimee. Not only were the team losing one of their own, they knew that 3 girls were losing a mother and would not get a chance to say goodbye. I know how much Aimee’s death affected Kat and no doubt every nurse that day, yet they still had to go back and do it all again. Watch others lose a loved one.

THIS IS A CALL FOR ACTION…. from the front line….

May I introduce to you all the epic Kat Lamb…

 

Six months post-qualifying as a nurse, I am now having to face undoubtedly the toughest challenge in my career. and my life. Working as a critical care nurse in the middle of a global pandemic is something that University certainly doesn’t prepare me for. But yet, here I am, standing with my team doing everything in our power to fight this disease one day at a time.

It is hard. We have watched people lose their lives, these people being mothers, fathers, partners, sons, daughters, grandparents. We then have to go home and worry about bringing it home to our families and thinking about the possibility of it being them in that hospital bed. This worry becomes more than just that, it develops into crippling anxiety, resulting in insomnia and overall general poor mental health. I’ve cried in front of my colleagues and watched them cry in front of me. The only comfort that we can take in it is that we’re all in it together and all we can do is our best.

 

One of the things we’ve found the most difficult is not being able to allow our patient’s loved ones to visit them and hold their hands, even when they’re taking their last breaths. This is when we came across the knitted/crochet hearts idea and felt the need to implement it within our unit. We hope it may provide some form of comfort to our patient’s loved ones at this unbelievably difficult time. Knowing that we have done everything we possibly can for these patients includes more than just medical care, it means providing support and comfort to their loved ones, which we hope these will help do.

So what do I need YOU to do…..

 

End of life matching family hearts

At this complex time with minimal visiting allowed the normal comfort of relatives being close to their relative and being able to hold a hand or to say goodbye as they know is not possible. Relatives can feel they will lose this last connection with their loved ones.

 

As a small compensation for this it has been suggested that being able to give a lasting token to the relative could provide some small comfort and emotional link in this difficult time.

This is where the matching heart comes in.

The idea is that each patient as they are dying are issued a heart to stay with them through EOL (End of life) phase. When the heart is given to the EOL patient a matching heart is also sent to the patients next of kin, so they feel they still have a small connection at this difficult time.

Matching heart process

 

Any hearts donated can be sent to:

The Queen Elisabeth Queen Mary hospital

QEQMH: Intensive Care Unit or Palliative Care Team

Address:   Ramsgate Rd, Margate CT9

Or

The William Harvey Hospital 

WHH; Palliative care team 

Address: Kennington Rd, Willesborough, Ashford TN24 0LZ

Or

Kent and Canterbury Hospital 

Kent and Canterbury Palliative care team

Address: Ethelbert Rd, Canterbury CT1 3NG

 

On receipt of the hearts they are sealed dated and kept in central point storage for 7 days.

 

When a patient is identified as EOL their relatives are contacted to see if they would like to take part. This conversation should be documented in the patient notes.

 

On agreement, one heart is given to the EOL patient and the second identical heart is immediately sent to the relatives. Up too 4 hearts can be sent. They will be sent to a central address for the family to distribute.

 

On RIP of the patient the heart that has been with the patient is packed up with their other belongings and sent to the family

 

We need people to make hearts…. We need people to tell other people to make hearts….in fact …we need everyone on this. Lets get this going in every hospital. Lets show some love.

Because I know that if that’s all my children could have as comfort than I would want that all day long.

 

You can read more about it here

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