Staff at St Elizabeth Hospice have shown their appreciation to Eileen Hogan, a Clinical Nurse Specialist, who came out of retirement to help the hospice during the ongoing pandemic.
A former Community Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialist at North London Hospice for 19 years, Eileen retired in June 2019 and relocated that summer with her husband Bill to Suffolk.
However, with the outbreak of the Covid-19 in March 2020, Eileen had no hesitation when she was contacted by the NHS to provide her support to St Elizabeth Hospice, as a Clinical Nurse Specialist Bank Nurse, during the uncertain times brought by the pandemic.
“The reason I came out of retirement was hearing and seeing how frontline workers were overwhelmed and stretched due to the pandemic, and I wanted to help in any way I could,” explained Eileen.
“With my background in palliative care I was more than happy to help St Elizabeth Hospice, where I started in June, as I have a great passion for supporting people with end-of-life care needs.”
As a result of Covid-19, many challenges were faced by hospice staff and new safety measures, such as the wearing of specific PPE, were introduced to ensure patient and staff safety.
Eileen said: “Working two to three days a week, my role saw me carrying out many home visits to offer symptom control and support to patients and their families.
“Covid-19 led to a very different way of working with increased PPE, social distancing and Zoom meetings, however the service continued to meet the needs of our patients and the St Elizabeth Hospice team were very supportive in helping me settle into the role.
“It was a pleasure to be a part of a team who are so enthusiastic, hardworking and motivated and I would like to thank them for the support they gave me.”
After ten months of supporting the St Elizabeth Hospice team, Eileen will now be returning once more to retired life and both the hospice staff and patients, she has worked alongside and supported, have shown their gratitude for her care.
Alison Queen, Community Clinical Nurse Specialist Team Leader at St Elizabeth Hospice, said: “Throughout her time supporting the hospice Eileen has consistently gone above and beyond, even volunteering her time for extra days unpaid.
“She is an expert practitioner and has also gone out of her way to do teaching with our Developmental Clinical Nurse Specialists and produced teaching aids for them, which has made such a difference.
“Most of all, Eileen has been fantastic for all patients, families and staff, and we wish she could stay with us but we all wish her a happy retirement and thank her for her support during the last ten months.”
While one family, supported by Eileen and her colleagues, said: “To Eileen and the team, the support, encouragement and kindness that St Elizabeth Hospice showed our mum will always be remembered. The carers that visited our mum on the first few days, when she was at home, were funny, gentle and made those early moments easier for everybody.”
Eileen added: “Front line workers battling this crisis are real people working incredibly hard, both day and night in these extraordinary circumstances, while the public support for the NHS has been amazing and humbling. But for now, it is time to return to retirement life, enjoying my garden, walking my dog, spending time with my three-year-old grandson and hoping to find a good yoga group in East Suffolk!”