Interview with Sue Marsden - Former Community Learning Disability Nurse at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation.
“As you know I was very worried about Mollie’s transition time because of what people have told me, I can honestly say that between yourself (the Learning Disability Team) and Kate (ellenor Hospice) it’s been good. I have felt very supported throughout the whole process. Thank you”
Leigh, Mollie's Mum
As a Community Learning Disability Nurse at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT), Sue Marsden’s favourite part of the role is also an excellent description of what she does:
“I love it all. I love the challenges, the diversity. We work with people from the mildest of learning disabilities, who just need a little bit of help getting them into the acute health systems all the way through to profoundly, multiple disabled people, at every stage of life.”
Sue works mainly with adults, specifically individuals with a range of health conditions and learning disability-associated requirements. “It could be complex, life-limiting health needs. It could be challenging behaviour, advice around sex and relationships, or access to health treatment or information.”
Many of the adults Sue works with have been receiving care since they were children – some of them under ellenor's care.
Ensuring a Smooth Transition
Part of Sue’s role is to ensure that individuals with learning disabilities who are nearing the age of 18 receive a smooth transition to adult services.
Helping these young adults navigate the gulf between children and adult services isn’t always easy. But, thankfully, it’s a process that the KCHFT’s close partnership with our hospice, one born from personal ties, has gone a long way to refining. As Sue explains:
“Our relationship with ellenor came about from an association with one of their nurses, Kate Bradford. Both of us had recognised the challenges of transition for young adults, particularly those with really complex health conditions.
Kate’s world is paediatrics, mine is adults, and traditionally there’s been this kind of chasm in-between the two.”
Working to Bridge the Gap
It’s that gap that Sue is working to bridge; helping ease young adults with learning disabilities, and their families, into a new care environment. For those families, Sue relates, many of whom who have become accustomed to the stability and support of a hospice environment, such as ellenor. The overwhelming emotions of transition are “fear and uncertainty.”