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Primary care blog: Cancer, Jade Goody, and why district nursing must shine

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RCN primary care expert Lynn Young on the short and tragic life of cancer victim Jade Goody, and what district nursing can do for her

It would not be surprising to learn that a great number of Nursing Times readers have been thinking about Jade Goody and how her tragic physical decline is being played out in the media.

For most of us the terrible story is how this young mother is facing her pending death with enormous courage, and how her whole life - if the press is to be believed - has been full of hardship and struggle.

Apparently Jade’s young life was grim as she had the appalling luck of having a drug addict as a mother, who she had to care for from a ridiculously young age. At a time when she should have been nurtured and loved she was thrown into being a minder for a self-destructive and totally incapable mother.

Fame came to Jade as she emerged from young person to adult and in the most bizarre of ways. Big Brother - for goodness sake - brought Jade some kind of public life and much needed cash to help buy the goodies, which she was presumably denied until then.

Such crazy times Jade has lived through, and hopefully enjoyed. She certainly deserved to have some good hearted fun following her tough and rather bleak childhood. Sadly, as adult and motherhood took on their own momentum and a happy future could have been hers for the taking, the end of Jade‘s short life is rapidly drawing near.

She has married her boyfriend and returned to the place she wishes to be - home. I hope, very much that arrangements can be quickly put in place to help Jade be beautifully cared for in her chosen place. This should not be too onerous a task, given the fact that many areas now boast a 24-hour district nursing service.

It is in times such as these that district nursing has the opportunity to shine at its brightest. I cannot imagine that Jade has heard anything at all about the new end-of-life strategy. The truth is though, that we still have a significant number of community health services which have much to achieve before they can talk publicly about a gold standard end of life care.

My wish is that, if Jade is able to be brought home, she will receive all the love, care and devotion she should have received as a vulnerable child. What she failed to be given in the early part of her life, Jade will be given in abundance at the premature end of a far too short life.

And, of course the press will make a splendid story of it all - may it be a kind, gentle and sensitive one.

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