I first came to the Hospice in 1982 when my sister and I came to a volunteer recruitment day. I remember walking in and it felt like I had walked into someone’s home – nothing like a hospital. They were looking for help with general domestic tasks such as washing, cleaning, cooking and ironing. I signed up and began to help on a regular basis.
After speaking to patients, I knew that I wanted to be at the Hospice. I had an overwhelming sense that everyone deserved this level of love and care at the end of life.
My family life and work took me away from the Hospice for a time and I pursued my interest in complementary therapies and holistic care, attending college to gain qualifications. In 1992 a nursing auxiliary job came up at the Hospice and I immediately applied. Sue interviewed me and I was appointed – my life journey had brought me back to this special place.
As I continued to work alongside my studies, I recognised that the patients might benefit from some therapeutic touch and I spoke to the Doctors about trying this out. Most patients had a very positive response. The therapies provided one to one time, we could talk about how they were feeling and it offered relief from anxiety, stress, pain and discomfort.
When Day Hospice was opened, I moved into the role of Complementary Therapist. Over the years this service has proved incredibly popular and I now lead of team of staff and qualified volunteers, supporting our inpatients and those who visit Day Hospice.
One of my proudest movements was caring for the Hospice’s first patient suffering from AIDS. It was a privilege to offer hands-on care to this individual who had suffered from the stigma of their illness from many other caregivers.
I continue to love my job and the Hospice. Being able to offer someone in the deepest crisis of life a safe space to be themselves, to be frank and open and to be listened to in the comfort of the very best care, is such a privilege.