We need to recognise the strain on nurses across the healthcare system
Pressures on the NHS are having a deeply concerning effect on end of life care, according to a survey of more than 600 nurses by Nursing Standard and Marie Curie.
At times of increased pressure on our hospitals, it’s vital that nurses get the support they need.
Deputy Director of Nursing for Marie Curie Anne Cleary takes a closer look at the findings of the survey, and explains what she feels they mean for people who need end of life care.
Nurses don't get enough time with their patients
“What this survey shows is that nurses in hospitals and in the community aren’t able to spend enough time with their patients.
“They’re pulled in different directions. And they feel torn between the priorities they’re balancing.
“The strain can put real pressure on nurses and how they feel about their job."
Patients and families aren't getting the support they need
“It’s a privilege to care for people at the end of their life: being present with them, helping them not to feel alone. We know this is what people fear.
“The impact of not being able to provide a good standard of care is, of course, concerning for patients and their families and friends.
“Even the most confident person feels vulnerable when they’re ill, particularly if they’re not able to function fully without help.
“All nurses want to provide high-quality care for their patients. So to feel unable to provide that care when it’s needed – that’s hard.
“Nurses need time to step away from their work and reflect on things. A network where they can talk about those experiences and feelings is vital.”
Winter pressures on the NHS means dying patients are stranded in hospital
“Part of the pressure on hospital nurses comes from people getting stranded when they should be able to return home. This is down to the wider system.
“The NHS saw unprecedented pressures around Christmas and January across the whole system.
“Every person needs assessment and a multi-professional team to get them home, which takes organisation.
“Increased pressures made it even harder for the health and social care systems to work together effectively.”
The NHS, social care, private and voluntary sectors need to work together
“The priority is learning from these findings – and listening to our nurses. How do we transform some of those services so that we’re not in these situations again?
“If this doesn't happen, it will just get worse and there will be more challenging times in future.
“All nurses want to provide high-quality care for their patients. But they need support too, and it’s important that’s recognised.
“To address the cause of the problems we’re facing, the whole system across the NHS, social care, and private and voluntary sectors needs to come together to make sure our models of care support our needs for the future.”
If you have a view you’d like to share, tweet us @MarieCurieEOLC. Read the full results of the survey on the Nursing Standard website (subscribers only).