Nurse gets set to mark 20 years

Macclesfield Express - - EAST CHESHIRE HOSPICE -

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

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