Specialist nurse has an audience with The Queen

A specialist palliative care nurse based at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital was last night granted an audience with The Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Macmillan nurse Emma Harris was invited to attend an evening reception with the Queen in recognition of Emma's significant contribution to health. Emma has been a champion for introduction at NNUH of the Liverpool Care Pathway for patients nearing the end of life.

Emma said: “It was the most amazing experience to be at Buckingham Palace with the Queen and I just felt really proud to be representing the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.”

She added: “In our palliative care role, dying well means something different for everyone but it generally includes maintaining dignity and autonomy, having choices and receiving appropriate pain relief, as well as emotional and spiritual support. I am passionate about this whole subject – not just for the sake of the patients but also for the relatives who must wait and watch as their loved ones die. “

As soon as a patient is judged to be near death – a decision taken by the entire multidisciplinary team – the LCP guidelines come into play. Staff have a duty to check on the patient regularly, talk to the relatives and give prescribed medications for symptom control, without waiting for a doctor.

What is the Liverpool Care Pathway?

The Liverpool Care Pathway's main aims are:

• To provide better communication between patient, family and health care professionals involved in the care of the patient, to help them become more aware of the typical features of the dying process.

• To promote guidelines for the facilitation of a ‘good death’

• To encourage discussion suggesting that death is part of ‘normal’ life.

• To give practitioners more confidence to prescribe medications that may have associations with sedation or other side effects.

• To encourage team working to ensure that the care of all dying patients is the ‘best it can be’ (NHS Cancer Plan 2000).

Emma is also a course facilitator on the Advanced Communication Skills course, currently accessed by clinicians working in Oncology and Palliative Care.

Wednesday 19th of November 2008 02:00:19 PM