Improved help for patients in need of palliative care

Discussing a patient with nurse Lorrie Cross (left) is lead palliative care practitioner Dr Ann Morris.

Discussing a patient with nurse Lorrie Cross (left) is lead palliative care practitioner Dr Ann Morris.

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A new post has been created to drive forward palliative care for patients across North Lincolnshire.

Dr Ann Morris, who has a wealth of experience in this field, has been appointed as the lead palliative care practitioner and will be based at Scunthorpe General Hospital.

Dr Morris was previously the medical director at Lindsey Lodge Hospice and during this time has worked closely with the hospital.

She qualified as a doctor in 1975 and worked as a GP, family planning and women’s health medical officer and a drug advice and treatment clinician before starting work at Lindsey Lodge Hospital in 1992. She also continued to provide GP sessions in Scunthorpe.

She became the medical director of the hospice in 1997 and took on a full time role in 2002 when the inpatient unit opened.

Palliative care is specialised medical care for people with serious illnesses and chronic illnesses such as cancer.

It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness – whatever the diagnosis.

Dr Morris said: “The main aim is to improve the quality of life for both the patient and the family. It is about helping people manage the symptoms of their illness and minimise any pain or discomfort they made be in.”

She said palliative care was provided by doctors, nurses and other professionals to help provide an extra layer of support. It focuses on symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping and depression.

Dr Morris said: “Patients with serious and chronic illnesses often feel frightened, isolated and sometimes struggle to deal with the pain they are in. Our aim is to work with them, their consultant and their families in giving them the strength to carry on with daily life.”

As well as providing medication, support and advice, palliative care also aims to improve people’s understanding of their illness and the choices around their treatment. Our aim is to support people every step of the way through their illness.

“I am looking forward to my new role as it is an exciting opportunity to further integrate work for palliative patients across both the hospital and community services.”