Meet a Royal Trinity Carer Meet Nicky, a Royal Trinity Carer from the Wandsworth End of Life Care Coordination Service (Weolccs). It’s a job working out and about in the community, helping patients with their day-to-day needs, making a difference to their levels of comfort, helping to give them dignity and preparing families for different stages of death and dying. “Royal Trinity Carers do many day-to-day tasks that we may consider easy but make a real difference to people living their lives every day at home. Often, we go out to see patients who have been in hospital for a while and haven’t had their teeth cleaned or hair combed as well or as often as they would like. We help with their personal hygiene and any self-care support they want. This could be as simple as giving someone a really nice, deep shampoo and combing their hair. Sometimes people’s hair becomes matted and difficult to untangle. With their consent and often relief (!) we can apply a special treatment to soften the hair and help with clumps. We often take care of people’s feet, particularly if they are frail or have had surgery and find it difficult to reach them. When I offer to take a bowl of warm soapy water and give their feet a good wash, drying properly between their toes, it is well received! Other examples of care I give as a Royal Trinity Carer could be administering medication and contacting a patient’s GP or District Nurse about prescriptions. We take good care to observe our patients' skin and any changes. If we spot a blemish, which can be a sign of bed sores, we let our colleagues in Trinity’s Community Nursing team know so they can follow up. There is a strong co-ordination element to my job, talking to the different healthcare professionals linked to each person, such as liaising with Trinity’s Community Nursing team, GPs, or our own pharmacists. There may be patients who decide that they want to come into the hospice to die instead of staying at home and part of the job is being part of that conversation with them and their families. I joined the Wandsworth End of Life Care Coordination Service or “Weolccs” as we are known across Trinity, two years ago. I had been working in a hospital previously and whilst I enjoyed my work, I found being indoors all the time difficult. I realized I needed a role looking after people that would let me care for them in their own surroundings and give me the variety of moving about more. What I like about being a Royal Trinity Carer is being out, seeing different people and because everyone’s illness is different, finding ways to specifically help each person, so they can live well in the time they have and prioritise the things that matter to them. Co-ordinating help for families is also important. A lot of the time I see families who are lost – they don’t know what to do. I like being able to do the research and coordinating with my clinical colleagues to find information and guidance for them about what is happening, so they are informed. One patient I have cared for recently was deteriorating quickly but I found each time I went to their house they had a lot of friends there. Whilst it was clear they wanted to help, I could see the patient wanted rest and quieter periods too. To help find this balance, I suggested a visiting rota, giving each of the friends a break for themselves and creating time for the patient to have time to rest or sit and think quietly. Talking to well-meaning friends and family members about where a patient is in terms of the stages of end of life is really important. A Royal Trinity Carer can play their part in providing honest information about death, which enables families and friends to accept where a loved one is, so they can get on with making the most of every moment they have left together, supported by me and my colleagues at Trinity." Find out more about the Wandsworth Care Coordination Service (Weolccs) Find out about the care we provide at home Thanks to Nicky from the Weolccs team for her collaboration on this blog about her work visiting patients across Wandsworth.