Sarah Bottomley is Head of Clinical Services at Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice, where she has worked since 2011. Here, she reflects on what it was like for staff working during the COVID-19 pandemic, and talks about her own personal connection with the hospice.
As part of Sarah's role she is the Registered Manager, taking responsibility for ensuring a high quality of care and overseeing the day-to-day management of the hospice’s diverse range of services.
“Before I started working at the hospice I was an intensive care nurse. I always felt very passionately about supporting patients who were dying - ensuring they had the right pain relief and that their loved ones were able to be with them if they wanted to - to try and make a difficult experience a little bit easier. That’s my passion and it’s why I decided to move to palliative care.
A year like no other
“This year has been like no other and COVID-19 has had a big impact on the way we work. At the height of the outbreak, the legislation and guidance was changing so quickly - sometimes hourly - and we often didn’t know where PPE was coming from and if we could get enough stock. We were forced to use technology more, to provide virtual support and it really showed the resilience of our staff and the passion they have for palliative care and for our patients and families.”
Sarah has personal experience of the support offered by Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice after her dad died at the hospice during Christmas 2017.
“My mum was so impressed with how well my dad was looked after and her memories of the hospice are of how lovely it was”
“My dad had kidney failure and he was on dialysis for many years. As time went on he was slowly getting weaker and having numerous hospital admissions for infections and in December 2017 during one of these admissions, it was decided that his body was not strong enough to have dialysis and that it would not be appropriate to continue with it.
“I felt a huge relief when he was transferred to the hospice because I knew he’d be well looked after. He was in a room with patio doors with a view of the trees and on Christmas day although he was not awake my mum had a Christmas dinner in his room, she sat next to the bed with his dog Scruffy sat at her feet waiting for turkey leftovers.
“My mum was so impressed with how well my dad was looked after and her memories of the hospice are of how lovely it was and how well she was included and cared for.
“I’ll always be truly thankful”
“I get a lot of feedback from relatives and patients on how good the services are. I know we provide fantastic care - I’ve been at the heart of it and delivered it myself - but when my dad was in the hospice I felt it.
“When I look back, my memories of dad now are not him in the hospital, they are being in the hospice with the dog sat by the patio doors and my mum sat on the chair next to dad. I’ll always be truly thankful for that.”
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