For a person working in hospice care, it is their job to ensure that the final days of a patient are comfortable and peaceful. This is why despite its challenges, many people working in the industry love the job for how rewarding it feels.
As one of the UK’s leading end of life charities, Marie Curie provides nursing and hospice care and tons of support in all aspects of bereavement.
Every year, their frontline nurses and hospice workers care for 40,000 terminally ill patients a year as they help them through the final months and days of their lives.
As part of their services, they treat and manage their patients' physical pain as well as providing emotional support when individuals and their families need it the most.
The Mirror spoke to Carolyn, who works in the outpatients' department at the Marie Curie Hospice in Bolton to understand what its like to work in a hospice.
She said: “When people are first referred, they are always quite afraid. Hospices are considered a dark scary place where you go and die, but it isn’t.
“It’s a bright and airy place, and although at the moment it’s quite quiet due to Covid, it’s usually a buzzing happy place with a lot of fun and laughter.
“Of course it can be sad, but it’s all about people making the most of their life.”
The hospice is surrounded by peaceful gardens overlooking Bradford, with the inside offering plenty of useful facilities including consulting rooms and therapy rooms.
Carolyn continued: “From the outside it looks quite small, patients can see the mills of Bradford and Bradford City ground which is great for those who grew up and spent their whole lives in Bradford.
“There’s a large conservatory area with bifold doors that open onto the gardens, a lounge area, a kitchen, a complementary therapy room, consulting room and counselling rooms.
“In the inpatient unit there are usually 16 beds, mostly single sized rooms as well as en suite bathrooms and upstairs there are offices, conference rooms and even guest bedrooms.”
Despite the buzz and positivity throughout the hospice, Carolyn admits that the Covid-19 pandemic did take its toll and there have been some tough moments to deal with.
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She said: “It’s been tough for everybody during Covid, it’s not the same over the phone or via teams, it’s been so sad because most people are in their last year of life.
“We’ve had no visitors at all during Covid, so people have died on their own, and that’s so sad.”
With difficult moments comes good peer support and a focus on wellbeing.
"Everybody has difficult days working in a hospice, but there is plenty of support in place to make sure we are coping okay."
When it comes to her favourite thing about working in a hospice, Carolyn said: “For me, the biggest thing is that it’s a real privilege to look after people and families at that stage of their life.
“You really can make a difference, the families will always remember you as well.
“Over the years I’ve gotten to know some fantastic people and fantastic families that I’ll honestly never forget.”
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