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Their services involve treating and managing pain while providing emotional support to families and individuals in times of need. Marie Curie is one of the UK’s leading end of life charities providing nursing and hospice care in addition to bereavement support.
We spoke to Carolyn from the outpatient department at the Marie Curie Hospice in Bradford to find out more about what it’s really 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, while inside there are plenty of facilities including consulting rooms and therapy spaces.
Carolyn said: “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 usual positive atmosphere in the hospice, Carolyn admits the Covid-19 pandemic did take its toll and there were some tough moments.
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.”
Yet with difficult moments come good peer support and a strong 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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