Nurse gets set to mark 20 years
JOY Stevenson is busier than ever as she prepares to celebrate 20 years as a nurse at East Cheshire Hospice in 2016.
Joy is the lymphoedema nurse and a growing caseload reflects the increasing demand for this specialist therapy service.
Lymphoedema is a complex condition, described most simply as the swelling of the limbs or part of the body due to an accumulation of lymph fluid.
The hospice treats secondary lymphoedema brought on by either cancer, or cancer treatments such as radiotherapy or other surgery. The hospice service involves: advice and help with correct skin care, exercise advice and regimes where required, compression garments or initial bandaging treatment, specialist massage where appropriate or teaching patients self-massage to help drain affected areas.
Joy took up her post in 2002 after general nursing duties. She said: “I work three days a week seeing inpatients and Sunflower Centre outpatients. Day care patients account for most of my work with an average of between 60-70 new referrals each year.
“Each patient is assessed individually and given information about lymphoedema so they can manage their own condition.
“Together we develop a treatment plan and it’s very satisfying when patients become empowered to manage their condition.
“I love my job and the patients make it very rewarding. Often the service is the first introduction to the hospice for some people who can be apprehensive not knowing what to expect.
“However, once they’ve visited the unit for the first time they see it as a place of friendliness and support where they can share hopes and fears in a safe environment.”
A support group meets twice a year.
Anyone with a cancer diagnosis can access the hospice lymphoedema service through a referral by their GP or other healthcare professional, such as a Macmillan nurse.
●● From left: John Davies, Tracy GrahamWoollard, Nigel Preston and Emma Dixon
●● Joy Stevenson has been at East Cheshire Hospice since 1996