I have worked at St Elizabeth Hospice for 15 years now. My role is to support the therapists with home assessments, day care activities and outings.
One of the elements of my job which I’ve enjoyed has been taking patients, nearing the end of their lives, out on individual shopping outings and remember, in particular, one 40 year old patient who wanted to buy a selection of presents for her daughter’s future 16th, 18th and 21st birthdays as well as wedding and Christmas presents.
It is very special to be able to help peoples to do these intensely personal and important jobs as they can make such a difference to people’s lives.
I have recently taken over the organisation of the Fine Dining Event which is held for patients. We hold a special restaurant evening in our dining room so that patients can bring loved ones out to dinner in the evening in a restful and bespoke environment. Our catering team prepare a splendid menu, accommodating special requirements of the diners.
Over the years, my job has grown and there has been more need for assistance on the inpatient unit and for more physiotherapy support. On Mondays I run a circuit group where patients spend three minutes at each physical exercise ‘station’ before moving onto the next one. These include the stairs, treadmill and balance equipment.
On Tuesdays I run a chair-based exercise group to help build strength, stamina and balance as well as to address falls management. In the inpatient unit, I work with patients on initial assessments of their abilities and needs before concentrating on providing access and mobility practice.
In addition, I run relaxation groups on both days and it makes my heart sing when I can see patients truly relax and be able to totally distance themselves from their problems.
I also work as a healthcare assistant on the inpatient unit, washing, dressing and providing general patient care.
We all have a crazy workload here but I am in it to make a difference to patients. I wish we could do more. Job satisfaction is important.
I really enjoy getting out into people’s homes, which I do quite a lot when there are home assessments to be done for non-urgent needs. I look at bathing equipment, stair-rails and hand bars. People tend to be more relaxed in their own homes so you can find out more about what they enjoy doing and achievements they are particularly proud of.
It’s a privilege to be welcomed into their homes and to be able to see them as who they really are and not just someone coping with a progressive illness. I find the same on my HCA shifts, as when the barriers are down and you are bathing someone, you talk about important things.