Tracey Wilcocks

I first joined the Overgate team in 2014 after having previously worked as a Clinical Nurse Specialist and seeing first-hand how hospice care can make a difference in the lives of patients and their families.

What really made me want to join the team was a referral I made to Day Hospice on behalf of one of my patients. Her active cancer treatment had ended and she had, unfortunately, been given a palliative diagnosis. This simple referral made all the difference; it meant that someone who had been told the worst had somewhere to turn to in the darkest of times. It meant that her husband gained support through the carer’s group, and her children received support from the social work and counselling teams. It meant that the whole family gained financial support so they could spend what time they had left together, without worrying about money.

As her condition deteriorated, it meant that she undertook advanced care planning with the team that she knew and trusted, who would ensure that her wishes for her end of life care were safe in their hands. And finally, when she passed away, her husband and children received bereavement support to help them navigate those difficult days, weeks and months ahead. All this from one referral, it really showed me how one simple act can create a ripple that changes the lives of the whole family of a patient in hospice care – this is what we see each and every day at Overgate.

What I love most about working here is how caring and kind our wonderful staff and volunteers are; they will go out of their way to make sure a patient’s wishes are met in any way possible. In the summer we cared for a patient who wanted to marry her long term partner. This was a whole team effort with every department rolling up their sleeves and contributing, and we manged to host a wedding blessing for a large number of family and friends. Seeing the couple’s delight and the family’s amazement at what we had put together will never leave me. The fact that, without being asked, everyone volunteered their time and expertise to make it happen really is what makes Overgate so special.

There are many memorable moments at the Hospice every single day, but I have to say that my most memorable moment was also my proudest – my appointment as Director of Clinical Services. I feel so proud and fortunate to carry on the legacy of my predecessor and to lead such an amazing team of people who come to work each day to give the best care possible to those who need it most.

I have been asked to describe my team in three words, but three words simply aren’t enough. My team are experts, they’re inspirational, passionate, hardworking, amazing and, above all, kind. I feel really proud and privileged to work with so many amazing colleagues who all work above and beyond every single day. Never has this been more demonstrable than in the current climate when we are all pulling together to make sure our patients and families still receive the same high quality of care.

These are certainly unsettling times for anyone on the front line of care, but I feel we have a really important role to play in the current crisis. Hospices provide expert palliative care and we have the skills to be able to support our local community at this time. I feel proud that we will be able to do so, but I do recognise that this is an anxious time for all of us and I will be doing my very best to make sure staff feel supported and cared for to allow them to continue to care for the people who need it most.