After nearly 38 years of nursing, 34 of those with Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, Lymphoedema Lead Jayne Cave-Senior is laying down her medical kit for the final time.
As the Clinical Lead for the service, the veteran has played an important role in supporting adults across Walsall suffering with chronic swelling, typically in the arm or leg.
A life-long condition, lymphoedema occurs because vessels and lymph nodes become damaged and fluid builds up in the body; this can occur as a result of faulty genes, infection, injury and cancer (including cancer treatments).
Despite this, the swelling and discomfort can be minimal when managed properly, and so people like Jayne are critical in helping to assess the condition promptly and alleviate any pain.
“The treatment we offer has changed a lot over the years – when I joined the service in 2005 we offered manual lymphatic drainage (a specialised massage) and compression bandages/hosiery as the main treatments to reduce fluid, but now we also offer innovative laser therapy, kinesiology and high tech compression pumps. All this ensures our patients receive the best practice available for lymphoedema management.”
Based at the trust’s Palliative Care Centre in Goscote, Jayne, affectionately known as ‘Smiler’, reviews her patients on a regular basis to ensure their condition is well managed. A community based service, the team will assess patients either in clinic or at home.
“Some patients are immobile, or too poorly to attend clinic so it’s therefore appropriate to do home visits.
“At their worst we can see patients every day, but when you educate them on how to control the swelling, their confidence begins to grow and the appointments become less frequent.”
When asked what’s great about her role she replied: “When you meet patients over a long period of time you are able to develop meaningful relationships; you get to know them well and this certainly helps when teaching them to self-manage their condition.”
“It’s been sad saying goodbye to my patients – people who I’ve gotten to know well over the years – but they are definitely in safe hands with my colleagues!”
Having initially joined Walsall Healthcare in 1985 as a district nurse and later as part of the tissue viability team, Jayne was part of the team that developed the Walsall Pressure Sore Risk Calculator – a process that is still being used by staff today at hospital and in community. This development, alongside a number of published articles, has helped prevent and reduce ulcers for our patients at home and on the wards.
With many projects, publications and other notable achievements under her belt, it’s no wonder that she received the ‘Safe High Quality Care’ Award at the trust’s 2018 Excellence Awards – a particularly special moment in her career.
She recalls a number of other ‘magical’ moments, with a particular highlight being when the service secured funding from Macmillan Cancer Support to set up a swimming group specifically for breast cancer ladies living with lymphoedema.
She explained: “Swimming is a fantastic way to keep healthy but many of our patients have insecurities; the idea of revealing surgical scars or removing wigs and prosthetics can seem daunting.
“Creating a group strictly for cancer patients meant they didn’t have to worry; it was a safe place for them to have fun and get fit.
“While funding for this group only lasted a few years, the ladies formed a real bond and still meet up now. It was so lovely to see friendships develop between them.”
And as for her work colleagues, the nurse describes her team as a ‘family’ that she’ll miss very much.
“I’ve made real friends while in this trust. I’ve met some amazing people – both colleagues and patients – who have made it a pleasure to come to work every day.
“I’m pleased to say that my colleague Louise Rooney will be taking over my role and she’ll certainly do a fantastic job!”
Sindy Dhallu, Clinical Operations Manager for Specialist Palliative & End of Life Care and Jayne’s line manager said: “We don’t often realise the impact of staff until they leave but I already know that Jayne will be missed by so many people including the patients, staff and her friends at the Walsall Palliative Care Centre.
“We have been fortunate in Walsall to have such a passionate advocate for the Lymphoedema Service; she may be part of a small team but she has a big voice at the national Lymphoedema table. She is dedicated to her craft and driving the service forward.
“I will truly miss her and all of the support that she has given to me over the past nine years as Team Leader and as a friend. I would like to thank Jayne on behalf of the people of Walsall for her service and the NHS has been fortunate to have such a dedicated nurse.”
With retirement on the horizon, the grandmother is looking forward to spending time with her family and taking some much needed time to relax. Best of luck Jayne!