Lucy Lynch provides a vital service at our Hereward Surgery in Bourne as she has taken on the additional role of Carers' Champion and has helped to set up support for bereaved patients.
Lucy joined the practice seven years ago as a receptionist and she became Carers' Champion, collating data on carers and ensuring that the practice has received a Carers' Award for the past four years running.
Additionally, she runs the 'Difficult Day' project for patients who are struggling with issues which was set up by Dr Ashley Norman. It links well with her most recent work with the bereaved, that she carries out in conjunction with Dr Clive Cole to provide a care service for patients. She sends condolence cards on behalf of the practice and checks in regularly with relatives, giving advice and help if needed.
She said: 'I am passionate about this work because people can get forgotten, especially during Covid. We keep a handwritten book of patients who have passed away and so I make contact with their families and send a card with a personal note.'
The service has recently started but Lucy is now contacting families who have been bereaved up to a year ago. She said: 'One man was so pleased as he got his card on the anniversary of his wife's death and I was able to sort out Meals on Wheels for him and link him to a local friendship group.
Lucy volunteers on her days off at the Butterfield Centre and also delivers Meals on Wheels to the elderly. 'I have a lot of time for older people and feel this is a really important service to offer. We also have a Difficult Day scheme offering support for people who are coping with different issues.
'The Carers' Award, bereavement service and Difficult Day are all interlinked, and it really shows that we care about our patients and try to make a difference in whatever way possible. It is so rewarding and there is a definite need for these additional services to help patients coping in difficult circumstances. We are really lucky in Bourne because we have the 'Don't Lose Hope' café and counsellors for people so there is support available for those struggling, it is a case of making contact and supporting them in whatever way we can.'
Dr Clive Cole said: 'Helping the bereaved is a very important aspect of palliative care and one we wanted to boost as a Quality Improvement Project. Bereavement support is an important part of palliative care and the practice has also worked closely with St Barnabas hospice and MacMillan to not only improve care in Bourne but across Lincolnshire. Tying this work in with Carers' Support seemed a natural step, especially with Lucy's experience, enthusiasm and patient rapport.'