Health support worker has passion helping end of life care patients and families recognised
A health support worker with a passion for caring for end of life patients is set to train to specialise in this area – after her dedication to patients and their loved ones was recognised.
Claire Pollard, a healthcare assistant at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, has been able to make a range of improvements thanks to support from the Trust’s specialist palliative care team.
Claire, who works in the medicine and respiratory unit at the University Hospital of North Tees, has an idea was to create special signs on the doors of rooms where patients on end of life care were being treated.
This was to prevent staff entering the rooms when they were not aware of the patient’s condition.
With the support of the Trust’s palliative care team, Claire was given the confidence to make this improvement and was also given the training to become the first health support worker to become an end of life care champion.
Claire was also supported to transfer to a new joint role with the Butterwick Hospice and palliative care team.
This will also involve completing a qualification in an introduction to supportive care for people with cancer and other long term conditions at Teesside University, starting later this month.
Claire said: “I have always been passionate about the care that end of life patients and their families receive, at what can be a distressing time.
“Through the experiences I have had in the past, I have some ideas which hopefully would improve the experience of patients and their loved ones.
“One thing I had seen was that sometimes members of staff not involved in an end of life care patient’s care may have unknowingly entered a room where they were – which could case distress to the family.
“This has led to the creation of signs which are being used across the Trust.
“I have also had support to become an end of life care champion and to start a new role and new training course at University.
“I was supported so much by the palliative care team, particularly facilitator Michael Lambert who regularly visited to encourage me and provide expertise.
“Others recognised my passion for this subject, namely Rachel Blackmore (care group manager) who helped make this all happen.
“The wider team I work with have also been so supportive too, including my manager Elizabeth Meldrum and the team in ward 25.”
Mel McEvoy, nurse consultant in palliative care, visited Claire this week to tell her: “Your dedication to improving the care end of life care patients receive has been fantastic.
“I want to thank you on behalf of the palliative team for supporting us in doing all we can for our patients, right up to their very final moments.”