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Cara

Cara

End of Life Care Co-ordinator

“Providing nursing care and support to people in their own homes is a privilege.”

  • Tell us about your role. What do you get up to on a typical day/week?

    A normal week for me consists of working four days doing 9.5 hour shifts between 8am and 9pm over a seven day period. My role is a mixture of spending time in the office at Avonmouth, case managing for PCHS, Marie Curie night services for Bristol and liaising with St Peter’s Hospice at Home and then going out into the community visiting patients for the PCHS team, providing care and completing comprehensive end of life assessments. My role also includes line managing a number of the HCA’s within the PCHS team.

  • What’s the best thing about working in the community? What made you choose this kind of work?

    I am passionate about providing care to patients in the community and helping to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions, which can be detrimental to both the hospital and patients and their families. Providing nursing care and support to people in their own homes is a privilege; they are allowing us into a small part of their personal lives, enabling us to get to know them and their families to build an individual, professional rapport which helps us provide the best possible service. Community nursing staff are like one big family; regardless of where anyone works across Bristol, everyone is always willing to help each other. Community nursing staff are hardworking, highly skilled, resilient and all have a good sense of humour.

    I have been working for BCH in the community ever since qualifying in 2012 and I’m very proud to have now specialised in Palliative Care. I worked for the PCHS team as a HCA during my nursing training and this is where I learnt most of my basic nursing and care skills from the other very highly experienced HCA’s, and I knew it was the field that I wanted to get back into one day. I am passionate about providing excellent palliative care services in the community, this drive has come from my own personal experience of my Dad dying at a young age. I want to be part of trying to ensure that community palliative care services are the best they can possibly be, to ensure these patients and their families will remember a very sad and difficult experience in a positive light.

  • If you have worked in a previous environment, e.g. acute, how does this compare to working in community health?

    My only acute hospital experience was throughout my nurse training where I worked in both Frenchay and Southmead hospital on a number of different wards including; respiratory, renal, general medicine and care of the elderly. I enjoyed my hospital experience but always knew I wanted to work in the community, where I would have more autonomy.

  • Describe the working culture here?

    PCHS is a small and tight knit team of very experienced staff who all strive to provide the best possible care to end of life patients who wish to die at home. PCHS go above and beyond, our staff truly care for patients and their families and are always willing to go the extra mile to build professional relationships in order to provide individualised empathetic care and support. The PCHS team are extremely hard working and are dedicated to what can be a very difficult and emotional job.

  • What do you think makes someone successful here?

    To be successful within the PCHS team you need to be positive, friendly, hardworking and always willing to learn new skills. Due to the nature of this job I also think it’s important for the team to have a good sense of humour in order to keep our spirits lifted.

  • Tell us about the learning and development and career progression opportunities?

    Throughout my career in BCH I have been given excellent learning and development opportunities which have helped me get to where I am today. BCH provide a wealth of different in house training, both face to face and through eLearning. BCH are also able to offer funding for staff to attend training provided outside of the company for example through different universities. I have been very lucky to have completed the Certificate in Diabetes Care at Warwick University and also the End of Life Care module at UWE, as well as a number of courses provided by St Peter’s Hospice. These courses have enabled me to develop my knowledge and skills in order to progress in my career.

  • What’s the most rewarding thing about your role?

    Seeing the difference the team has made to a patient and their family at a very difficult time. Family members often come in to visit the team following the death of their loved one to say thank you in person, this is where we can see how appreciative they are in their eyes for the holistic care provided.

  • What do you think patients would say about the service you provide?

    I think they would say that we provide a very specialized and professional service that really has a hugely positive impact to them at the end of their lives and on those around them too. The PCHS team are often referred to as angels which is an honour.

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