St Clare Hospice staff will be working over the festive period to make Christmas Day as special as possible for their patients and families.
The Hastingwood-based charity will be operating their services as usual across the Christmas period – including their Inpatient Unit, Hospice at Home and community services. The charity’s clinical and support teams will be working around the clock to care for patients with life-limiting illnesses both in their own homes and in the Hospice itself.
St Clare Director of Patient Care, Philip Ball, said:
“St Clare will be running as usual over Christmas – the same as we do 365 days of the year. If patients need us, then we will be there. Christmas is a busy time of year for hospitals and GPs as so many patients want to make sure that they are at home over Christmas – 23rd December is the busiest day for discharging patients at the hospital. Our Hospice at Home team will be out in the community caring for people in their own homes over Christmas so that they can be with their families and sharing precious moments together.”
Christmas is also one of the busiest times of year for the Hospice’s catering team. Samantha Hegarty, a chef at St Clare, said:
“This year I will be working on Christmas Eve, cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner for the patients and their families, and preparing food for Christmas dinner the next day. One year there were 40 people for Christmas dinner on the 25th December so there will be lots of carrots to peel and turkeys to stuff.
The Christmas season is a very busy time for us in the kitchen! We will have two staff Christmas lunches to cook in the lead up, as well as the patient Christmas lunch on 19th December when we are expecting around 60 guests. If you add up all those Christmas dinners – we will probably be roasting around 16 turkeys in the run up to Christmas!
My favourite thing about Christmas at St Clare is just being able to make people’s Christmas as special as possible. Whether that means serving them dinner in a silly festive jumper, or making them an Irish coffee on Christmas Eve to enjoy after their meal, it is a privilege to be able to do that for our patients. The team at St Clare is just such a lovely bunch, and there is a special buzz around the hospice at Christmas. Being at St Clare makes you realise how much you appreciate your own family and so I will be focusing on making special memories with my loved ones this year.”
St Clare Hospice will also be supported by its dedicated volunteers on Christmas Day itself. Tony Shattock, who has volunteered at St Clare for more than a decade, will be volunteering on the reception desk on Christmas morning.
“I have been volunteering on Christmas Day at St Clare for the past 4 years and it has become my favourite thing about Christmas! It is just so rewarding to me, I love it. Lots of people will be coming in to visit their relatives and loved ones on Christmas Day, often before they go home for their dinner. I greet them at the door and then walk them down to the inpatient unit. Sometimes they are loaded down with presents so I help them to carry them. Or sometimes people just want to have a chat, so I am always happy to oblige!
I will eat my Christmas lunch in the dining room with the other volunteers on Christmas Day. I will be playing Christmas music on my speakers in the reception area, and wearing my Christmas jumper to make people smile. St Clare is such a happy place, and Christmas Day is the happiest of all. The nurses and staff will be dressed in Christmassy outfits, and the volunteers who are helping to serve dinner to the patients will be around to make it as special as possible for everyone.”
To find out how you can support the work of St Clare Hospice this Christmas and to make a donation, you can visit www.stclarehospice.org.uk.