Talking about End of Life wishes and palliative care with loved ones is never a comfortable conversation.
In support of Dying Matters Week, Park View Care Centre’s Award-Winning Registered Manager Emma Hernandez Wyatt talks about the importance of raising awareness of the subject and the specialist bespoke Palliative Care programme ‘Blue Horizons’ which she has implemented at the Nursing, Dementia and Residential Home in Ashford, Kent.
The term ‘a calling in life’ is definitely true about Emma’s passion and commitment to nursing, especially palliative care, “Just simply to be with them. To let them know that it’s alright to let go should they wish to and that they are safe and they are not to be afraid of anything. “
Emma was recently announced by Kent Care Awards, as the 2020 Palliative Care Award winner in a special Covid safe presentation. The award was handed over by Judge Ann Taylor, CEO of Hilton Nursing Partners and KiCA Chairperson. The judges were looking for a candidate who demonstrated how special and professional they have to be to support someone who is at the end of their life.
Emma was honoured to receive the award, not only for herself but for the rest of the team at Park View Care Centre, "This award was the well-deserved recognition for my team here at Park View. Whilst I lead the team here, and the award has my name on it, I am nothing without them."
Having identified at the beginning of her nursing career, her skill for hands-on nursing and dedication to making those she cared for better, it was a personal reason which directed Emma to her calling in life. “I absolutely loved and adored my Grandmother; we were very close. When she became very sick, I cared for her but wasn’t there when she passed. I then totally understood the grieving process and wanted to help others both the patient and also the family.”
Over a number of years, having undertaken various specialist palliative and end of life training, Emma has developed, written and implemented a bespoke specialist person-centred program named Blue Horizons, with the motto ‘nobody dies alone’. Poignantly, the programmes name was the suggestion of Emma’s mum, “I was chatting to my Mother who has early stages of Dementia and asked what name she liked and Blue Horizons was born! it just felt right “.
The uniqueness of the program combines components of Namaste Care, the Gold Standards Framework and the former ‘Six Steps of Success’ from the Pilgrims Hospice in Kent alongside the professional experience and specialist training of the team at Park View Care Centre.
The aim is to provide comfort and quality care throughout the stages of end of life and the different phases leading up to it. Family and loved ones are supported and informed along the journey; creating a comfortable and secure environment full of happy memory links.
One of Emma’s favourite quotes is “‘how people die remains in the memories of those who remain behind ‘this theory was introduced by Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern hospice and palliative care movement. The quote resonated with me completely, therefore, when my beautiful daughter was born during the covid pandemic during the first lockdown, I chose Cicely as her second name.”
Family members are involved every step of the way by having regular chats with the dedicated team of carers and nurses so they can fully understand and ensure that both the families and residents are being met. This is usually done through ‘thinking ahead meetings’, these meetings support the team, to understand the preferred sensory links in the way of familiar smells, music and flavours that links them to happy memories; which is so important.
Keeping the resident comfortable and managing symptoms to ensure they have the highest quality of life for as long as they live. Sensory stimulation around touch, hearing, sight, smell and taste is implemented to support comfort and calmness. The team know that they have one opportunity to make it a perfect experience for both the resident and their family.