26 Jun 2020 Care
How Kirkwood’s Therapy Assistant has adapted to the coronavirus pandemic
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, many of our teams at Kirkwood have adjusted to meet the needs of patients. For some, that meant taking on a whole new role. Kirkwood Therapy Assistant, Hannah France, shares her experience of taking on the role of an Auxiliary Nurse during the crisis…Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, many of our teams at Kirkwood have adjusted to meet the needs of patients. For some, that meant taking on a whole new role. Kirkwood Therapy Assistant, Hannah France, shares her experience of taking on the role of an Auxiliary Nurse during the crisis…
Therapy Assistant, Hannah France, works across multiple departments at Kirkwood, providing support to service users to help them achieve personal goals, no matter how big or small.
“I started working at Kirkwood two years ago as a Therapy Assistant. Having experienced hospice care personally I knew what a difference it could make to a person, providing comfort and support. When I saw the job advertisement for Kirkwood I wondered if I could help provide the same level of care and compassion to someone as I had once received.
“People often ask me what my role as a Therapy Assistant entailed, I worked as part of the Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy Teams to help facilitate and enable service users and deliver therapeutic activity in Support & Therapy.
“I support many activities including a Knit and Natter group and a gardening group, as well as doing a lot of one-to-one project work which might include reminiscence therapy, creative work or legacy work such as creating memory boxes and writing letters. Our aim is to enable patients to set and reach their own goals with our help and encouragement.
Hannah assisting an Arts and Crafts session in Support & Therapy last November
“Working at Kirkwood, I feel I can make a difference to people, a large part of my job is talking to different service users and getting to know them, which is really rewarding and often gives them a chance to be heard and express their feelings in a safe and non-judgmental setting.
“Being able to work holistically with patients, looking beyond physical needs and symptoms is especially rewarding. Providing emotional and spiritual support is really important to our service users and can make the difference between feeling really low, and feeling they are able to achieve a good quality of life.”
Over the last few months, the coronavirus pandemic has meant our teams had no choice but to suspend a number of services as the country went into Lockdown.
As the Support & Therapy Centre closed its doors and the team began to support service users remotely, Hannah took on a new role on the In-Patient Unit as an Auxiliary Nurse.
“Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak I have moved into a new role as an Auxiliary Nurse on the In-Patient Unit. It has been a change of pace for me and has meant that I have learnt new skills as well as being able to use my existing skills to support people and provide a different level of support.
“I have enjoyed the challenge of the new role and seeing a different side of the care we provide at Kirkwood. Learning new skills and working in a clinical setting, caring for patients and providing support to their families has been challenging but just as rewarding as my usual role in Support & Therapy.
“I have been able to work more closely with my therapy team colleagues as the physio and occupational therapy staff have continued to provide their services to patients.
“At times during the pandemic, it has been emotionally demanding. But, I feel as a team we have risen to the challenge and are still providing the best possible care to all our patients, as well as supporting each other.
“Despite everything, I am doing well and loving working on the In-Patient Unit. The In-Patient Unit team have been very welcoming and kind to me during this hectic and upside-down time, by always taking the time to educate and guide me in my new role.
“They are a great team; they work exceptionally hard and I have very much enjoyed joining them.”
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