Night nurse Emer eases fears and provides care in the home for cancer patients

Irish Cancer Society nurse Emer McLoughlin
Relay for Life Tipperary, which returns to St. Michael’s GAA Grounds from 3pm on Saturday, August 15, to 3pm on August 16, raises vital funds for the work of the Irish Cancer Society, as well as raising awareness of the many services that the Irish Cancer Society offers within our community.

Relay for Life Tipperary, which returns to St. Michael’s GAA Grounds from 3pm on Saturday, August 15, to 3pm on August 16, raises vital funds for the work of the Irish Cancer Society, as well as raising awareness of the many services that the Irish Cancer Society offers within our community.

One such service is the night nursing service. Emer McLoughlin from Newport works as a part-time night nurse with the Irish Cancer Society, as well as working part-time in St John’s Hospital in Limerick. Emer was always interested in palliative care, oncology and care of the dying. She always felt she had a niche for that.

The Irish Cancer Society provides the funding for a night nurse to come in to the patient’s home, with two shifts - the twilight shift from 5pm to 11pm or a night shift from 11pm to 7am. The night nurse comes to the house and looks after the patient.

Emer, who covers North Tipperary Limerick and Clare, says the role of night nurse is to assist / provide support to families to care for their loved ones at home.

“It is a wonderful but daunting thing for families to look after someone dying at home. Families are often terrified and this may be their first experience of death / dying and they may feel overwhelmed and unsure whether they will be able to cope,” she says.

The nurse’s role is to assure a family that they will be there to help them and that they are not alone. Night nurses go into people’s homes as a visitor, not to take over the patient’s care but to blend into the family routine and assist where needed. Most important of all is to build up a rapport with the patient and family so they feel comfortable with the night nurse in their home.

Full story in this week’s Tipperary Star.