Macmillan Team There to Help; HEALTH Reporter HELEN RAE Finds out How Carers Week Celebrated the Help Macmillan Community Nursing Support Team Give Patients and Their Families in the Region

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Byline: HELEN RAE

RELATIVES who have cared for those suffering from terminal illness have celebrated the work of the Macmillan community nursing support team.

During National Carers' Week - which finished yesterday and celebrated the contribution carers make - relatives have spoken of their gratitude to the Macmillan team.

Caring for a terminally ill relative can be mentally and physically exhausting so to help ease the burden on the carer, Macmillan Community Support provides direct patient care and support by providing carer relief at any time during the day or evening.

The team which is part of NHS Newcastle and North Tyneside Community Health, works alongside the district nursing service in Tyneside and consists of 14 healthcare assistants, all of whom have experience in caring for patients with palliative care needs.

Maureen Barnes used the service a year ago when she was caring for her husband, Kenneth.

She said: "I was introduced to the Macmillan community nursing support team by the district nurse.

"I realised that I couldn't cope any more, caring for him by myself. The team came in twice a day to help with Kenneth's care, but also came to look after him twice a week so that I could have some time to go and do the shopping or have some time out.

"Members of the team would sit and talk to me, giving emotional support and help when things were difficult. I was supported by the community nursing support team for several months and can't thank them enough."

Rose Clarke also used the services of the Macmillan community nursing support team two years ago.

She said: "Being from a nursing background, when my husband Eddie was first diagnosed with cancer I thought I was quite capable to look after him.

"It wasn't until late one night when he collapsed and I couldn't move him that I realised that I needed help. I was referred to the Macmillan team and they were all just phenomenal. …