An Eastbourne woman was so touched by the care her grandfather received from St Wilfrid’s Hospice in the final months of his life, she has trained as a care assistant and joined the hospice team to give something back.
Terry Morris, known as Popsy to his close family, was a volunteer for the town’s hospice but had been under its care for quite some time before he died in February 2018. Terry’s granddaughter, Hannah Gadd, didn’t really know much about what the hospice did until the last few months of Terry’s life.
Hannah saw, first hand, the work of the community team who regularly visited Terry at home. Hannah helped to care for her grandad and would often see the nurses and healthcare assistants at his home. Then, when he was admitted to the inpatient unit, Hannah saw a different side of the work of St Wilfrid’s. It was then that she wondered if there might be a role for her at the hospice.
One of the nurses suggested that Hannah might like to consider joining the new care at home team as a care assistant.
A busy mum with two daughters, Hannah wasn’t sure she’d be able to do it; however, the opportunity to work as a bank care assistant, with flexible shifts helped convince her.
After some online certification training and some time spent shadowing other team members, Hannah took up a post at the hospice.
She said, “I’d never thought about doing something like this, but I absolutely love it.
“It is such a privilege to support others through the work.
“I’ve been with people when they have died and I suppose my experience with Popsy’s death gives me the strength to deal with that and support the families.”
Hannah’s work can involve helping patients with their personal care, with mobility issues or medication.
She said, “Sometimes it might be help with washing or transferring to and from bed.
“Whatever the patient wants really. It’s anything that allows them to be as independent as possible as they draw closer to the end of life.”
Hannah says it is an incredibly rewarding experience and added, “The knowledge that I am helping someone; helping them to be as independent as they possibly can be during what can be the toughest time in their lives.”
Hannah would also encourage others to consider doing similar work for St Wilfrid’s.
She added, “I’d say to them ‘give it a go’ because you never know until you try.
“I never ever thought I’d be in this kind of job, but I absolutely love it and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Hannah, like many of those working or volunteering at St Wilfrid’s, got involved because she saw first hand the care and support a loved one received.
Hannah added, “I’m sure Popsy would be really pleased; he was a big part of the hospice, he absolutely loved it and was a volunteer himself.
“It really is because of Popsy’s care that I work at St Wilfrid’s and my ambition, now, is to train as a nurse.”
If you would like to find out more about working or volunteering with St Wilfrid’s Hospice click here.