Meet the selfless St Luke's nurses working across Sheffield on Christmas Day

The need for care doesn't stop because it's Christmas Day and St Luke's community nurse Lynne Ghasemi knows that more than most.

Wednesday, 13th December 2017, 2:09 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th December 2017, 2:10 pm
Lynne Ghasemi and Beth Lake
Lynne Ghasemi and Beth Lake

The need for care doesn't stop because it's Christmas Day and St Luke's community nurse Lynne Ghasemi knows that more than most.

She'll be out this year doing the rounds along with her colleague Beth Lake. Another nurse will be back at base answering phones providing support in another way.

As everyone opens presents from under the tree and getting merry around the dinner table with family, the pair will driving around Sheffield caring for people with terminal illnesses in what could be the final stages of their lives.

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St Luke's Hospice isn't run by the NHS. Donations no matter how big or small make sure that Lynne and Beth can be out caring for people on a day like Christmas.

Speaking to The Star, Lynne whos' worked at St Luke's for 27 years said: "Our community team will visit patients all over Sheffield and the surrounding countryside every day – Christmas Day is no exception. We will be there for the patients who need our support the most and to make this Christmas the best it possibly can be – a day to remember.

"The weather can be awful, of course, and in years past a few of us have found ourselves walking up a long steep path in the snow to a remote house – but no matter what the weather or how steep the hill, we’ll always make it."

Lynne said a 'typical' visit over Christmas will last around an hour - giving enough time to check everything is okay 'physically and emotionally'.

The team will have anticipate changing needs and already have a plan in place stop a 'crisis' at home.

Lynne has lots of memories working on Christmas Day but one sticks out in particular.

"I was looking after a mum, who was obviously in the last few days of life as Christmas approached," she said.

"She was in a lot of pain and missed out on most days in a blur of fatigue and nausea. I went to see her at home over the holidays to help her with pain relief and make her more comfortable – Christmas Day included. It was very important for her to be at home, although it obviously a very difficult time for everyone, knew it would be their last Christmas together.

"On Christmas Day, I remember she was in her bed, downstairs, in the sitting room next to their big, brightly decorated tree. Her husband and their two teenage daughters were bustling around getting the dinner ready; the family dog getting under everyone’s feet, hoping for a treat. I did everything that I could to make sure that at 4pm she felt strong enough to sit at the table with her girls and husband to share what would be their last Christmas dinner as a family.

"This special woman died a few days later but I’m glad we were able to help grant one final wish to her family through our care – one last Christmas Day at home, together. It’s memories like that which make me realise how truly special it is to play an important part in a family’s life at such a defining moment."

For Beth, this is her first shift working Christmas Day but one she's looking forward to.

"Christmas Day is the one day of the year you associate being with family. You meet up with people across the country you might not have seen for ages - you get together.

"On the day for us, it's about giving that support for people that need you on Christmas Day but also acknowledging they people just want to with family and giving other support to district nurses and we can step in if something is unstable and we are there if needed.

An hour's care costs around £27.80 and the hospice needs the support to continue to carry on the work to the high standards.

Less than a quarter of all St Luke's funding is provided by NHS grants. The rest is relied on donations.