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Not even Storm Ciara can stop us: the community nurses who braved torrents to reach vulnerable patients

District nurses across the UK are undeterred by travel hazards during the worst of the extreme weather

District nurses across the UK are undeterred by travel hazards during the worst of the extreme weather

The road sign says it all – and the scene beyond explains why  Picture: Michelle Turnbull

Community nurses battled the elements to bring care to patients in flooded areas during Storm Ciara.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust’s Ribblesdale district nursing team, which has a mixed rural and urban catchment area in storm-hit north west England braved flooding and high winds to reach vulnerable patients.

‘It demonstrates what community nursing is – you have to pull out all the stops and be resourceful to deliver safe care to those who need it’

Michelle Turnbull, clinical team leader

Safest routes were planned to help nurses navigate blocked roads

Clinical team leader Michelle Turnbull, helped coordinate nurse visits by listening to local radio updates and checking online to find the worst affected areas, before working out the best routes for nurses to take to reach patients.

‘I have such a sense of pride that the team were so responsive and resourceful, with a can-do approach to help patients’

Lynn Wood, district nursing team matron

‘There were significant power cuts and we tried to work out who were the most vulnerable patients, for example if they rely on oxygen and needed additional cylinders,’ she said.

The team of six nurses managed to see 70 patients with a range of needs, including insulin administration and end of life care at the height of the storm.

The cars in this yard show the depth of flood water  Picture: Michelle Turnbull

‘Nurses felt really empowered after their shift’

Ms Turnbull, who also went out to visit patients during the storm, added: ‘The nurses also had to check if patients had access to food and drinks as the carers they rely on were facing the same difficulties with travel as us.

Ribblesdale district nursing team
matron Lynn Wood

‘The nurses felt really empowered after their shift, it demonstrates what community nursing is, you have to pull out all the stops and be resourceful to deliver safe care to those who need it.’

Pride at nursing team’s response 

Lynn Wood, matron of Burnley and Ribblesdale district nursing teams, said; ‘I have such a sense of pride that the team were so responsive and resourceful, with a can-do approach to help patients.’

More than 70 flood warnings have been in place across Lancashire alone as a result of Storm Ciara with some people having to be rescued by boat.


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