An excerpt from Mel Buckley's diary

Mel Buckley is team leader of our single point of contact team, the first point of call for accessing our services. She kindly let us see excerpts from her diary to give us a small insight into her week.


Call from Tom’s wife Jean. Tom has end stage/advanced dementia and last night he fell getting out of bed. She was distraught and didn’t know what to do next. One of our nurses talked to her to calm her, while another called for an ambulance. Jean is exhausted; it is just the two of them so I talked to her about having more support at home. She was worried that if she couldn’t cope, Tom would have to go into a home. I could feel her relief when I explained about the care that we can provide them.



I have been privileged to hear my colleagues on their calls today. Ruth has spoken to Southampton Hospital about a patient known to us who had become unwell on holiday but wants to come to Prospect Hospice for his end of life care. 

Sarah has triaged a new referral – Liz, who was in so much pain she was unable to speak to her.  Sarah quickly established what pain relief they had in the house and advised her husband. As the pain eased Sarah was able to talk to Liz, establishing what matters most to her – which is remaining at home.



David has rapidly deteriorated unexpectedly overnight and a home visit is required straight away. I am duty nurse today so I grab my prescription pad and head out. On arrival David is sat in his chair; it was the only place he felt comfortable. As I look at him, my trained eye tells me all I need to know and Sam, the district nurse, and I share a knowing look with each other. I take a moment to prepare for the conversation I am about to have with him and gently take his hand. He stirs and shares the most beautiful smile with me as I introduce myself. Gentle questions allow me to explore what he understands about his illness and how he thinks he is doing: “I am dying my dear. I am not frightened and I am right where I want to be. This is where my wife died too”. I ask him if he is in any pain and he indicates that his tummy is sore and he feels very sick. We talk about anti-sickness medication and morphine by injection so that he doesn’t have to worry about taking tablets.



Supported a hospital in Newcastle with discharging a patient and our therapy team has liaised with them to order a hospital bed, chair and over the bed table for when the patient comes home. I have supported a bereaved relative via email and reassured him that one of the team will meet with him. I then took an advice call from a GP today asking for support with symptom control for Murial who is in a nursing home. A further call was from Sebastian who is married to Evie and they have three children, all at primary school. Evie is receiving treatment for a brain tumour but they have been told the treatment is no longer working and there is nothing more that can be done. I quickly organise for our family support team to become involved. Evie is not quite ready for discharge from hospital but we all focus on supporting Evie to get her home for Christmas. Time is going to be very precious for this family and this Christmas needs to be the best it can be.



Today I had the nicest of surprises. A couple of weeks ago I took a call from a patient’s daughter, Tina, whose mum had recently been discharged from hospital. She was the sole carer for her mum and was at breaking point. I advised there was more that we could do to help at home and Tina agreed to more support to help her mum. This restored Tina’s confidence and today my colleague Carmen passed on a card with a box of chocolates. Tina expressed her thanks for my support and for taking the time to listen. “You have made us feel like we have known you for years. I had no idea what Prospect Hospice could do until I picked the phone up and called you, but boy I am glad I did. Everyone I have met and spoken to has been outstanding”. What a nice way to end the the week.