Night nurses are urgently needed for cancer patients

Night nurses are urgently needed for cancer patients

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A CRUMLIN woman has praised the work of a night nurse from the Irish Cancer Society who ensured her father was comfortable in his final days, before he passed away at home last August.

The night nurse service, which has seen a significant increase in demand since the pandemic began, provides free end-of-life care to terminally ill cancer patients, and allows patients to spend their final days at home.

Tracey Robert Kinsella2 1

Tracey and Robert Kinsella

The charity is hoping to recruit more night nurses to carry out this service following a surge in demand.

For Tracey Kinsella, the work of night nurse Annemarie Ward meant her father, Robert Kinsella, could spend his final days in the comfort of his own home, and Annemarie also offered invaluable support to the family during this difficult time.

“When Annemarie, our night nurse, came to our home, she took us all under her wing,” said Tracey.

“She made Dad comfortable and gave us all such vital reassurance.

“One aspect of our night nurse that I found so amazing was how she spoke to my sleeping dad with so much dignity.

“She constantly told him the family was around him and that we would all be fine.

“Support, dignity, understanding and expert knowledge – that’s exactly what Annemarie, our night nurse, brought into our family home.

“We all knew we’d be okay for those hours she was there during the night time.”

The Irish Cancer Society’s Night Nursing Service is always complementary to the community Palliative Care Team or the Community Primary Care Team, but they have seen increased demand for their services since the pandemic took hold.

Donal Buggy, the Irish Cancer Society’s Director of Services Delivery and Implementation, said: “Family members naturally wish to be close to their loved ones in their final days and hours, but sadly current restrictions around Covid-19 mean that for many this is simply not possible in the hospital environment.

“This has led to our Night Nursing Service experiencing a significant increase in requests for end-of-life care in the home for cancer patients since the start of this year.

“In Kildare, demand is up by almost 50 per cent compared to last year, with 20 per cent more requests received in Dublin compared with 2019.

“We urgently need more night nurses to allow us to keep offering this valuable service to anyone who needs it.”

Details on applying for night nurse positions can be found on or by emailing, while further details on the Night Nursing Service are available at

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