Published on: Thursday 14 Dec 2017 at 10:50
Our Hospice at Home service will continue to support local people and families throughout Christmas
St Clare Hospice will continue providing our vital care and support services at the hospice, and in the community, throughout the festive period. Staff will undertake their usual working routines to make Christmas Day as special as possible for local people and their families across West Essex – from Saffron Walden down to Loughton.
Our Hospice at Home service offers reliable and rapid support for people and their families all year round, 24/7, in times of crisis and in the last few weeks of life. The team will continue to visit and support people in their own homes – caring for people as they celebrate what may be their very last Christmas. St Clare’s Hospice at Home Nursing Assistants commented on what it is like to support local families throughout the Christmas period.
Clare Cotton, who has worked at the hospice for six years on both the Inpatient Unit and now in the Hospice at Home team, said:
I like working Christmas because it’s so nice to see all the patients and their families getting into the festive spirit. The atmosphere in a person’s home at Christmas is lovely – they’re all happy and enjoying themselves. Even though people are poorly, they are usually cheerful at Christmas, which is heart-warming to see. We always try to make the day as enjoyable as possible for everyone, because for some people we realise it might be their last Christmas.”
Sandra Hammond, Hospice at Home Nursing Assistant, explained:
“It’s a busy time for the Hospice at Home team during the Christmas season. People are being discharged from hospital so that they can go home and spend time with their families, and that’s when we step in to make sure that the person is comfortable and supported. Everyone appreciates the work the Hospice at Home team does all year round, but people do appreciate you that bit more when it’s Christmas. It’s special to a person and their family when you go out to them on Christmas Day. They ask us why we’re not home with our own families, but it’s our honour to be there for them during what could be their last Christmas.”
Denise Pendry, who joined the Hospice at Home team when the service first launched in January 2014, said:
“There’s a lovely atmosphere working at St Clare during the Christmas period. We come in and it’s all festive, and we feel happy when we go out to people in their homes. Everyone is just so grateful that you’re going to them, it’s a wonderful feeling. You get offered treats as well, like mince pies – we’re not allowed any sherry, though!”
Maria Grazia, who was inspired to become a palliative care nursing assistant after witnessing the hospice care a close friend’s young son received, said:
“On Christmas Day this year, I’ll be working from 2pm – 10pm, going out and visiting people in their homes across West Essex. I feel quite humbled and honoured to be working Christmas. I struggled when I worked my first Christmas because I missed my children. But now, working Christmas just makes me appreciate life even more. You feel what is important at Christmas – it’s about life, love, and family. It’s so rewarding, and really gives something back to me. My daughter is joining in the season of giving too, and will be helping out at a homeless shelter in London on Christmas Day. I like to think she gets her charitable nature off me!”
Sheila Dormer, who has been a nursing assistant for over twenty years, said:
“This year, I will have my first Christmas Day off in a long time! I’ve worked many Christmases in the past, but this year I’ll be doing Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. I enjoy working Christmas; it’s very rewarding. What’s lovely about working Christmas is when your family says to you how proud they are of you. Although they’re missing you, and you’re missing them, we know that we’re helping others to have a special day, too.”
To find out how you can support the work of St Clare Hospice this Christmas and to make a donation, visit www.stclarehospice.org.uk