A group of nurses at Dublin’s Mater Hospital are attempting to raise money to create a more comfortable environment for their patients.
The six oncology nurses, who work on St Vincent’s Ward, are planning to run this year’s Women’s Mini Marathon to raise funds to buy items such as fitness equipment for those staying in the unit.
“Unfortunately we all know a family who has been affected by a cancer diagnosis. As nurses working on St Vincent’s Ward, we see what patients and families go through first hand, and our aim is to try and improve their experience with us as much as we can from diagnosis to discharge,” the nurses said.
Many of the patients will stay on the ward for up to a year receiving chemotherapy and other treatments.
The nurses recently surveyed patients and their families to ask them what they felt would make their stay easier.
Nurse Joanna Lambe said responding patients felt they would benefit from fitness equipment and other forms of holistic care.
“While we have all the requisite medical equipment, there is nothing for patients who are stuck for weeks on end in the hospital. . . . after chemotherapy patients have compromised immune systems so they can’t exercise outside or in public gyms,” she said.
“Some of the patients bring in exercise bikes to keep themselves motivated. Other patients bring in Xboxes, books and iPads to entertain themselves while they are here,” she said.
“We want to raise enough money to get exercise bikes for the ward, a library, and camp beds for people who are staying over the night with patients,” she said.
Ms Lambe said more funding should be provided in hospitals for amenities that will make patients and visitors stays more comfortable.
“In a hospital setting, there is only funding for the bare minimum - to get patients well and get them discharged but not for the kind of things that will make our patients and visitors stay more comfortable,” she said.
“We have 35 beds on the ward, but only 25 are open due to understaffing so the spare mattresses from those beds are put into patients’ rooms to sleep on the floor, so we need proper camp beds,” she said.
A fundraising page has been set up on Facebook.