Marie Curie is a registered charitable organisation in the United Kingdom which provides care and support to people with terminal illnesses and their families. It was established in 1948, the same year as the National Health Service. There are 108 nurses in Dorset and they travel to where they are needed. For example, a nurse based in Poole can travel up to 25 miles to provide care and therefore might also provide support in Dorchester, Weymouth or Christchurch.
Being a Marie Curie Nurse: "As Carers we enter someone's house as a guest, at what is a very difficult and emotional time. We are given a brief outline of the patient we are going to but on arrival we have to make a quick assessment as to any changes that may have taken place with the patient and assess the emotional state and support needed for the family. Providing support for the family is as important as providing care for the patient. In the final hours of a person’s life, we become the eyes and ears for the patient, looking out for changes in their condition, for example, any changes in pain and any need for increased pain medication and for any changes in their breathing. We then have to make the decision whether it is time to wake the family up or not. Sometimes the family members are relieved that the suffering of their loved one is finally over, whereas others may be clinging to the hope that one day their loved one will recover and are, as a result, totally unprepared for their loved one’s passing. Everyone deals with death in different ways and the level of support for the family can vary. We have to follow their lead as it were, stepping in or stepping back, depending on what the family needs. Sometimes the family will want to deal with the undertaker and other times the family just can't face it, and that's when we step in and liaise with the undertaker, as they prepare the patient for removal. We then stay with the family offering support and comfort. I am proud to call myself a Marie Curie Nurse and wear my uniform with pride." (Nurse Julie.)
The Poole Fundraising Group for Marie Curie Nurses was set up in 2013 and its main purpose is to promote the charity locally and raise money to fund nurses in our local area. Members are seen at local events and there are collecting pots spread throughout Broadstone, including Broadstone Methodist Church. Money raised locally is spent locally.
[Richard Ayres is Chairman of the Poole Fundraising Group for Marie Curie Nurses.]