My name is Amelia Whybro and I am a Community Nurse Specialist (CNS). I have been working for Farleigh Hospice for 5 years, helping people who have been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness to manage their symptoms as well as offering support and coordinating their care, now and in the future.

I have over 10 years nursing experience, I studied nursing at Anglia Ruskin University and then became a district nurse, working across Chelmsford and Brentwood. Five years ago I was approached by Farleigh to become a CNS. After further training I joined the 15 strong team of nurses. It’s a great place to work, everyone is so friendly and dedicated to helping their patients.

Most days start off in the office, listening and responding to messages from patients, GP’s, district nurses and from the hospice’s advice line. Each CNS has their own caseload and district, I cover the Dengie and South Woodham Ferrers. Every time I receive a new patient I visit them in their own home and carry out a holistic assessment. We look at the physical, emotional, spiritual and social aspects of someone’s life. Even though the patient is our primary concern, we also ensure the family receive the right care and support.

We never rush our assessments, we take our time and ensure the correct care plans are in place. The plan covers everything from pain and symptom management and day-to-day care needs, to social activities via day services and support for the family. We also discuss advance care plans which involve discussions about patients preferences of care during their last few days of life - either at home, hospital or at the hospice. We stay with our patients for as long as they need us; we support some patients for several months, others just a few weeks, it depends on their needs and diagnosis.

After the initial assessment we will continue to review the patient’s needs as and when needed, either by phone or face-to-face.

We work very closely with other health care professionals, from GP’s and hospital consultants, to district nurses and our own doctors here at Farleigh. We have an excellent relationship with Farleigh’s Hospice at Home team, who provide personal care and emotional support to family and friends during a crisis or during the last few days of their life. Our advice line, which we cover 7 days a week alongside our experienced administrators, is also a vital part of our role in supporting our patients and wider community.

“I love my job, every day is different, it’s a real privilege to be welcomed into people’s homes, offering them support during difficult times. I am honoured that they are able to open up about a very intimate part of their life, you get to know them as a person, not just their illness.”