Rachel’s story

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"People love their homes; it is what you’ve worked for all of your life. When people find out that they can safely go home and receive care there, it is really special for them."
Hospice at Home Team Leader, Rachel Jacobs

My name is Rachel and I have been working at St Clare as a nurse on the Hospice at Home team for just over a year. When I first qualified, I became a District Nurse, going out to people in the community and supporting them in their own homes. Being there for people who were in their last weeks of life was a big part of my role, and it stood out to me as one of the best parts of my job because I knew I was making a difference.”

“It was that experience that made me decide to specialise in palliative care, and that is how I came to work in a hospice setting.”

“My role within the Hospice at Home team at St Clare is to manage the team of nursing assistants and to assess patients who might benefit from the service. This includes people who are returning home from another care setting such as hospital or our Inpatient Unit, those who are waiting for a package of social care support to begin, or for those who are in the last weeks of life.”

“The support that we offer is really varied, and we assess people holistically, focusing on what will be best for their physical and psychological needs, and what they actually want.”

“I’ve got a really special job, because I feel that I can really help people who are facing one of life’s most difficult journeys.”

“People love their homes; it is what you’ve worked for all of your life. When people find out that they can safely go home and receive care there, it is really special for them. People also take huge comfort in knowing that they can pass away in the way they want to, and in their own home. It is hugely rewarding when we are able to support people to fulfil their wishes.”

“Not so long ago, the team and I supported a gentleman who wanted to return home from the local hospital during his last days. His wish was that he wanted to die in his chair, where he had spent most of his time sleeping for the past few years.”

“A couple of nursing assistants and I met the ambulance team at the gentleman’s farm, in a rural area local to the hospice. We helped him in to his house and got him settled in to his favourite armchair, and then his son poured him a glass of his favourite brandy! It was lovely to witness that, and to have been a part of making it happen.”

“We were there for the gentleman and his family, supporting him to feel comfortable and peaceful. Later that night he actually passed away, in exactly the way that he wanted to. It was a beautiful moment to be part of, and I was so proud that we were able to respond so quickly and to help him follow out his last wish.”

“It is so hard when you lose someone you love, but in my experience, there actually is such thing as a ‘good’ death. We try our very best to make every death as ‘good’ as possible. We take the time to understand what everyone’s wishes are in the family, to try to make their experience as positive as we can.”

“Offering 24/7 support like through our Hospice at Home team helps people to feel less fearful when entering the unknown. When you are faced with a diagnosis and prognosis, you feel like you don’t know what is going to happen. So to have the support of St Clare is such a comfort.”

“By coming in and helping to provide personal care for a person, we are not just helping them, but their whole family. We help families to feel like a family again.”

The person who is caring for their loved one has the chance to be the husband or wife again, or go back to being the daughter or son – rather than having to be a ‘carer’. By stepping in and caring for their loved one, it means that they can just concentrate on spending quality time with their spouse or parent.”

“Hospice Care Week is a great campaign – but it actually needs to be all year round! Educating people about the support that we can offer is integral to us being able to help more people who need us. Whether you have experienced first-hand the compassionate care of St Clare, or you have never even stepped foot in a hospice, please help us to spread the word about what we do, so that we can continue to make a difference to local people’s lives.”

– Rachel

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