Sheila, support worker
I’m a support worker in the inpatient ward and I’ve been here since the beginning in 1999. On my first day there were no patients; everything was brand new and we unwrapped the bedding and set up all beds and the equipment. The following day we had two patients and that was the real start, Willow Wood has just gone from strength to strength.
We’re so fortunate working here in that we are able to spend time with the patients and their relatives. Willow Wood has 12 beds and the high ratio of staff to patients means we are able to give individual care to them all, and to their families. But I feel that what we are able to give them goes far beyond just nursing care; it’s about making memories for the whole family to treasure and look back on.
I remember caring for one young mum who had two small daughters, both with a birthday coming up. We organised a Princess Party for them, we rang round our Hospice shops for a beautiful ballgown for the mum to wear, our catering team put on a buffet, we took photos for the girls’ memory boxes. It was really special.
And we’ve done the same for weddings or blessings on the ward. Everyone pulls together to make it a wonderful day. We do hair and make-up, arrange bouquets or posies, drive to our shops for suits and wedding dresses, organise the wedding breakfast and will even video the ceremony for them.
Being here for 20 years, I’ve seen quite a lot of changes, and with our START Clinic our care has developed so that we can support patients and their loved ones from the diagnosis all the way through their journey. Our family support team are also there to pick up the pieces; we’ll provide counselling and support whenever it is needed which, because everyone is different, may sometimes be a year or more following a bereavement.
While every day is different, what remains the same is that we give the best possible care to each of our patients and to their relatives. Whatever they need, we’ll be there for them.
I also, along with my lovely colleague Lynn, organise tours of Willow Wood, so that individuals or groups can come along and see all the facilities and services. It’s always wonderful to see their faces when they see behind the scenes and not only does it reassure those who may need our services, but we’ve gained both donations and volunteers, as people just want to become part of such a very special place.
All the staff and volunteers are very special too. We look after each other and there is always support for us when we need it.I just couldn’t imagine working anywhere else.