Caring at Christmas
looks at the contribution ellenor makes to patient care at Christmas, in the hospice and
through its community palliative care teams
We’ve all got them. Older members of our family, friendship and community groups whose remaining Christmases might not be in double figures. Factor in that some are also away from home and the festive season can seem the most challenging time of the year, not the most wonderful.
“We don’t count the days, we make the days count,” says senior nurse Tanya Ring, speaking to me at ellenor hospice in Gravesend.
I’m here to find out about the contribution Kent’s only charity to provide hospice care for all ages in their place of choice makes to patient care at Christmas, both in the hospice and through its community palliative care teams.
A relative newcomer to the team Tanya, who completed a post-grad certificate in end-of-life care in 2015 and wanted to put it to good use, tells me: “I thought I knew palliative care, having done it in the community for many years, but coming to ellenor it’s taken on a completely new meaning; I’ve learnt so much. This is the most rewarding job I’ve ever had.”
As a nurse of 33 years, 20 of them working for Community Rapid Response, that’s quite a statement. But looking at the brightly decorated, buzzy public areas and seeing how smiley and welcoming everyone is, with none of those hushed whispers you might expect from a hospice, you can see why Tanya loves it here.
“Christmas can be emotional and difficult,” she admits. “My own three children have come to expect that I’m away, but here we try to make it as special as we can.
“We have lots of decorations, the nurses dress up, there’s a day therapy party and we’ve got some rather special entertainment planned, which we hope we can pull off! Everyone is so friendly, and this is a happy environment, despite the circumstances around why we are all here,” she adds.
“ellenor gives me the time to care, not just for the patient but for the extended family too. As Dame
Mascot Ellie joins Father Christmas and ellenor staff including Linda Coffey (third from left) and Tanya Ring (far right)