On World Social Work Day (21 March), Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice is shone a light on palliative care social worker, Kerri Bicknell, and the vital role she plays supporting patients, families and carers in Bedfordshire.
Kerri, who is six months into her role at the Moggerhanger-based hospice hopes that by raising awareness of the work that she does, more people can benefit from the wide range of advice and support available.
“When people think of a hospice, they think of the doctors and nurses, but not many people know about the role of a palliative care social worker working alongside our medical team and the wider Family Support Team to provide all round support to patients and their families,” said Kerri.
“It might be that a patient is facing financial issues, so I can help people get the benefits they are eligible for, support with filling out forms and signpost them to organisations that can help.
“It could be that someone who is very unwell is worried about leaving their pet behind so I would liaise with outside charitable organisations. If there are complex family dynamics, I can provide additional support for them too.
“As well as practical support, we provide emotional support as well; a family member who is struggling to cope with the transition their loved one has made into palliative or end-of-life care.
“Without the support of a social worker, I think there would be a lot of unanswered questions for people, so we try and help, advising and signposting to help take the pressure away at a difficult time. People always say to me that they feel listened to,” she added.
It’s not only people being cared for at the hospice that Kerri helps, she also reaches out to patients receiving palliative or end-of-life care at home as well as their loved ones and has recently been part of the team helping to launch Sue Ryder’s new Grief Kind Space in in Milton Ernest, North Bedford, supporting people following a bereavement.
“Our new grief Kind Space launched early in March. My main role has been to support our trained volunteers who are there to help people and to reduce the isolation and loneliness felt by many people following a bereavement.
“The feedback from those who have attended has been really positive so far and it’s been a great initiative to be involved in.
“We really hope that we can provide more Greif Kind Spaces in the coming months so we can provide more support to more people.” said Kerri.
“As a palliative care social worker, I really feel like I am making a difference to patients and their relatives so they don’t feel so alone, and while we can’t change things for them, we can make people’s lives a little bit easier and that’s what I enjoy most about my role,” adds Kerri.
For more information email email@example.com. You can also find out more about Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice www.sueryder.org/stjohns
About Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice:
Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice is located in Moggerhanger, Bedfordshire, and provides expert palliative care, advice and support for people who are living with life-limiting conditions, as well as supporting their families.
Our inpatient hospice provides round-the-clock assessment and specialist care to help manage patients’ symptoms. In addition to our inpatient unit, we also offer community services for people who prefer to receive palliative care at home and bereavement support for families after their loved one has died.
Our expert team includes doctors, nurses, care assistants, physiotherapists, occupational and complementary therapists, social workers, counsellors and a chaplaincy team and a team of Family Support Volunteers. They all work seamlessly together to support people through the most difficult times of their lives.