Until our first “In” Meeting of the year I had no accurate idea of exactly what a Parish Nurse did in our community, in fact I had assumed that it was a wholly medical role which involved a first aid professional who visited patients recently discharged from hospital, or new mums or elderly people who had had falls. I also assumed that they were a part of the NHS, like an add-on to the local doctors’ surgery.
In fact I was half right in some of these assumptions……. but my main mis-conception that they were connected to the local surgery was entirely inaccurate. In fact they are fully qualified volunteers working under the charity “Parish Nursing Ministries UK”, and in Capel they work with the support and backing of the local Methodist Church. Having said that, neither Caroline Ursell nor Margaret Sankey will ever try to “ram religion down your throats”! In their own words they support all the people of Capel St Mary regardless of their age, background or beliefs, providing “whole person health care”.
Caroline herself is a registered nurse, with a MSc degree and a diploma in Child Psychology who works part-time in an Ipswich GP practice, while Margaret has a diploma in Occupational Therapy and a special interest in Care of the Elderly. Between them they can offer support for the “physical, mental, social and spiritual health” of individuals, and this can include help with understanding medical information, diseases and conditions, help and support for carers and dementia patients, post-natal well-being, mental health and increasing and maintaining safety and independence in the home. They will also offer help through prayer if the person so requests.
Although they have no official connection to the local GP’s surgery they do have an informal liaison with the practice manager and the medical staff there, which can be useful when advising or referring people who have gone to the Parish Nurses initially for help.
Caroline and Margaret organise regular drop-in sessions such as The Hope Hub at Capel Methodist Church on the first Saturday of the month for anyone wanting to meet new friends, have a coffee and a chat, play board games, do arts and crafts and discover local support and social activities. There is also DAF’s Café (Dementia And Friends) for those living with dementia and their friends and families on the 2nd and 4th Friday mornings of each month which is held in Capel Library. They also hold regular sessions at Dove Close. For more information see their website: www.CapelParishNurses.org.uk or check them out on Facebook.
Caroline’s talk at Capel Ladies was both interesting and informative, and I’m sure there are many people in the village who either benefit from the help of Parish Nurses at the present time, or who will certainly benefit from it in the future. To quote Caroline: “Parish Nursing is all about bringing hope to people.”