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Community matron role explained
05 November 2017

A community matron who helps scores of patients with complex needs to stay well and remain independent has spoken of her love for her job and the satisfaction she gets from caring for people.

Joyce Feltwell has spent the past decade proactively managing patients with one or more long-term conditions in Felixstowe, Martlesham and Kegrave. She is one of eight community matrons working across the county, all of whom share the same goal of improving quality of life for their patients while making sure all of their needs are met.

“My aim is to help patients maintain their independence, keep them at home wherever possible and reduce admissions into Ipswich Hospital, which is not only better for the patient, but also better for the NHS,” said Mrs Feltwell.

“My job isn’t just about looking after the patient’s physical health, but also their psychological and social needs – its very much a holistic approach. To be able to do that, I often tap into other local services, such as GPs, therapists and mental health teams, as well as those run by voluntary organisations or social services, so that we can work together to provide the best all-round care for the patient.

“I’m very fortunate to be part of a really good team, which is what makes our service so successful.”

Mrs Feltwell visits several patients a day, and will spend as much time as it takes to resolve any difficulties they may be facing.

She added: “Our consultations are in depth as you often deal with multiple issues at once. I will spend as long as it takes and come back as often as is necessary to stabilise my patients.

“I love my job – it’s the best thing I have done in my career. The holistic approach gives our patients quality of life and there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a patient happy, well, pain-free and as good as they can be.”

Joyce Sheehan has been receiving care from Mrs Feltwell for the past two-and-a-half years. She was referred into the service following her discharge from Ipswich Hospital, where she received treatment for severe pneumonia complicated by her existing COPD.

“I just cannot imagine not having Joyce here,” said Mrs Sheehan, who was once a frequent inpatient, but has not returned to hospital for more than two years thanks to the support she receives from Mrs Feltwell. “She makes all the difference in the world and has helped me to stay in my own home, which is very, very important.

“She has had a tremendous impact on my health – I don’t know what I’d do without her. She visits regularly and if I need her outside of those times, all I need to do is ring. We’ve also got to know each other well and I know I can talk openly to her, which is also really important. I look forward to her visits and we usually have a laugh together.

“I am really well looked after and couldn’t complain about a thing.”