Spotlight on: Lynsey Hannant, Dementia Palliative Care Nurse

The care and support we offer end-of-life patients with dementia and their families can make a huge difference at such a difficult time and, for the past three years, Lynsey Hannant, our first Dementia Palliative Care Nurse, has been by their side.

Such is the difference she’s making, her role, initially funded by three charities, including Pricilla Bacon Lodge Support Group and the Bedford Memorial Trust, is now permanently funded by our Older People’s Medicine (OPM) department.

“I’m currently supporting around 50 patients and their families each month and really enjoy my role,” said Lynsey. “I’m delighted I can continue to support even more patients in the future and make a difference to them and their families.

“People living with dementia face many additional complications and being able to support their end-of-life care needs is so crucial.

“It is really important to listen to patients and offer reassurance to relatives at a difficult time while ensuring their loved ones are comfortable and symptom free.”

Lynsey will work with the OPM teams to develop a pain assessment tool to ensure patients who are unable to communicate their needs verbally are supported in the assessment of their pain and receive the medications they need quickly.

“This permanent appointment is a great acknowledgement of Lynsey’s hard work and the enthusiasm she has brought to the role, her expertise has been great for our patients and colleagues,” said Liz Yaxley, Dementia Services Manager.

“She is helping staff interpret the needs of patients who have communication difficulties, and guides colleagues on best practices.

“She also facilitated many potentially difficult conversations between colleagues, patients and their families, who find her support invaluable.

“We are so grateful to the charities who funded this post since 2020 and are delighted that the role has been made permanent.

“We look forward to Lynsey further sharing her expertise to help colleagues provide the very best and dignified end-of-life care to our patients with dementia.”

Over recent months, Lynsey has also run a support group for patients and carers affected by dementia and cancer. She joined forces with Jenny Woolgrove, Dementia Care Specialist Nurse, and The Big C.

“The project is going really well, so far we have supported 10 patients and their families at a really challenging time,” said Lynsey.

“It’s been reassuring to see them enjoying our monthly meetings, where there are quizzes, music and board games alongside information sessions with health professionals, including the Cancer Care Navigators from Macmillan the Admiral Nurse team.

“It’s really exciting to have a permanent specialist nurse within our team”, said Sharon Wrath, OPM Matron.

“Currently in OPM we care for an average of 291 patients each day, who sometimes struggle to verbalise their pain or perhaps are confused about where they are.

“Having Lynsey to help them and bridge the communication gaps with our colleagues has been extraordinary.

“She’s also been a great inspiration for new colleagues who recently joined us.”

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