Big thank you from

Marie Curie worker helps families in area,


Banbridge Marie Curie nurse and mother of three Lisa TaylorWHEN Banbridge woman Lisa Taylor puts on her uniform and heads off for her nightshift, she becomes much more than a nurse.

A Marie Curie nurse in the area for the past three years, Lisa has become a lifeline to many families in their greatest hour of need.

The Ballyvally Heights mother of two does a job not many could - she nurses terminally ill patients in their own homes in their final months, weeks or days.

However, she says there are many other aspects to her work.

Lisa begins nightshift at the patient's home at 11pm and on her arrival she is given an update on their symptoms and treatment.

For the next eight hours she is a nurse, a counsellor, a friend and a listening ear to the patient and their family.

Lisa says, "The relatives are especially glad to see us coming. Often they feel very unsure about what they are doing and what they are supposed to be doing.

"I tell them that what they are experiencing is very normal. At the end of the day this is probably the first time the family has nursed a dying relative."


The patient is also very thankful to the nurses and often finds it easier to talk to them than relatives.

"There are things the patient wants to talk about but they don't want to share their fears with relatives," said Lisa. "They are usually very fearful and fretful and I listen then talk to them reassuring them their feelings are normal.

"I think the presence of a Marie Curie nurse helps put everyone at ease in what is a very emotional and difficult time," she said.

No two nights are the same for Marie Curie nurses, and indeed no two patients are the same.

"One patient might sleep all night, while another mightn't. While I'm there the family can go and have a few hours sleep or just go out for a walk and clear their head," said Lisa.

Lisa liaises with the district nurse and the family GP in her care for the patient.

A total of 95% of patients cared for by Marie Curie, suffer from cancer, however as they offer palliative care, they can care for any type of illness.

Asked how she became interested in this type of work, Lisa explained that she had nursed in care homes and hospitals but felt there was a lack of support for those staff who nurse the terminally ill.

"I was determined to learn more about this type of care, so I quickly joined Marie Curie," she said.

Lisa works within a 25-mile radius of Banbridge but at times her work can take her further from home.

"I could be with a patient for days, weeks or months, all depending on what stage of the illness I become involved in the care programme," she explained.


With just 200 Marie Curie patients in the whole of Northern Ireland, Lisa says she would love to see the service extended.

"There are so many people out there who aren't aware of the service we offer.

"Often people come to us after their loved one has passed on and say they would have preferred to have them at home in their final days but did not know this was an option.

"Being able to let a relative die in their own home is a great consolation to both patient and family at such a tragic time.

"It is great that Marie Curie is able to offer this service and I hope that by reading this article people will see what we do and how we help families in the area," said Lisa.

Emotions do run high

LISA Taylor can't imagine doing any other job. She admits it isn't the career for everyone but says she gets a tremendous feeling of the service being worthwhile.

"The patients and the families can't thank you enough, but through my work I can see how beneficial the service is," she said.

Lisa explained that she does become emotionally attached to families adding, "you wouldn't be human if you didn't.

"I am with them all night, several nights a week. The families invite me into their homes and into their lives at such an emotional time."

With two young children of her own, Lisa said her job is particularly difficult and trying when she is nursing young parents.

"It really brings it all home when you are caring for a young mother," she said. "I do try to leave work at work, but sometimes its very difficult."

Lisa finishes her shift at lam and, when she arrives home, says she has no trouble getting over to sleep.

"It works out well and I sleep when the kids are at school. I do three nights a week, which is more than enough, but sometimes I will do more," said Lisa.

Marie Curie nurses receive great support from their team leaders and attend group meetings and seminars on a regular basis.

Lisa is currently studying for a Diploma in Palliative Care and says she just about finds time to study between working and looking after her family.

"It can be hectic sometimes, but I love my work. It is so rewarding and worthwhile and I couldn't imagine it any other way," she added.