WHY DID YOU START WORKING AT THE HOSPICE?
I went for an interview 19 years ago hardly knowing what the job would entail. But as soon as I walked in the door I just knew I wanted to work there. The atmosphere was very warm and welcoming and had something very special.
WHAT DOES THE CARE TEAM DO?
We work with children and young people who have a life-shortening disease or syndrome. The child may be with us for respite to allow the parents to take a break, or to enable doctors to help with symptoms or pain, or when they are reaching the end of their lives. The whole family can stay here together at this time.
WHAT DOES YOUR ROLE INVOLVE?
I am allocated a child and family at the start of each shift to look after and provide all-round holistic care. As a lot of our children have complex healthcare needs we all have to complete clinical competencies including tasks like gastrostomy (tube) feeding, working with children who are on non-invasive ventilators, oxygen therapy and giving medication. Play also has a big role in our everyday care and we have some amazing resources. Many happy memories are made here!
WHAT ARE THE BEST AND WORST ASPECTS OF YOUR JOB?
The most rewarding part of my role is making even a bit of difference to a family visiting us. Families really just need a sit and a chat about life in general. The most challenging part is almost the same as what is rewarding; being alongside a family at the time of their child’s death is truly a humbling experience and something I’m very proud of being a part of.
HOW DO PEOPLE REACT TO YOUR JOB?
Children’s hospices are a slight enigma for many people and I imagine some think of them as dark and depressing, when in fact they are the exact opposite and incredibly bright and inspiring places to be. Yes, they can be extraordinarily sad at times, but we never lose sight of the fact that while the children may be poorly, they are still children.