Helping patients spend Christmas at home

Hospice At Home nurses visit at any time of day or night PNL-151216-123650001
Hospice At Home nurses visit at any time of day or night PNL-151216-123650001

Hospice at Home nurses will be arranging their own family Christmases around their shifts throughout this festive season to ensure that as many patients as possible can spend Christmas at home with their family and friends.

Clinical nurse specialist for Rennie Grove Hospice Care, Marina Hizirogullari said: “Working over Christmas is a special time.

“For some of our patients and their families, it can be a mixture of feelings, and theywant to make it extra special.

“If we can help by providing support and comfort, then wehave contributed to that.

“Unfortunately, this time of year can also be a lonely time, so we try and have an awareness of patients who may be on their own over the long weekend, and make sure we keep in touch with them.

“Our model of care is holistic, and supporting someone emotionally is equally as important as physical care.

“My children will get their stockings and presents before my shift starts, and we have our family ‘Christmas Day’ a few days later when I am off duty.

“They are too small tounderstand my job, but they know Mummy looks after people.

“They don’t mind that Christmas goes on for a few extra days in our house!”

Rennie Grove Hospice at Home nurses work on a shift pattern to ensure that responsive, round-the-clock care is available to the hundreds of patients on their caseload at any one 

Being available to visit patients at home at any time of the day or night allows them to deal with symptoms and manage patients’ pain as soon as their condition deteriorates.

This, combined with support and reassurance for the family whenever needed, can make the difference between a patient staying at home and having to be admitted to hospital.

Rennie Grove’s director or nursing, Sue Varvel, said: “No-one wants to spend Christmas on a hospital ward if they can help it.

“Sometimes it’s unavoidable but, with the support of the local community, we are privileged to be able to support the vastmajority of our patients to spend Christmas in their own home.

“Sadly, for some of our patients, this could be their last Christmas and so it is particularlypoignant for all the family to share this special time together in an atmosphere ofsecurity and love.

“I know our nurses feel it is a privilege to be trusted to make this happen and they never begrudge a missed Christmas dinner because they have been ableto make a difference at the most difficult time in a person’s life.”

Rennie Grove provides specialist responsive 24/7 Hospice at Home care for adults and children in Herts and Bucks. All services are provided at no cost to the patient and Rennie Grove relies heavily on public support.

To donate to Rennie Grove’s Christmas appeal, which aims to ensure more families have the chance to be at home together at Christmas, visit