Sue Ryder Occupational Therapist shares her experiences

Categories: Leadership and People & Places.

On Allied Health Professional Day (14 October) Sue Ryder celebrated its staff including Occupational Therapist Claire White – who spoke about the reality of working in a hospice.

Claire has worked at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading as an Occupational Therapist for 12 years, and has opened up about what her role really involves, and some common misconceptions.

She said: “My main clinical role is to support the patients, families and staff on the inpatient unit and explore their individual needs in order to provide the appropriate interventions.

This can range from reviewing their moving and handling needs – ensuring they can gain the maximum benefit from their time at the hospice – through to supporting somebody with their discharge home to make it as safe and comfortable as possible.

We work very closely with the Physiotherapists as they focus on the movement of the patient and we then apply that ability into their every day activities.

Claire continued to talk about the highs and lows of working in a hospice:

“I’m often asked ‘how do you cope with working in a hospice, it must be really sad’ and of course there are moments that are, but one of the things I have found quite staggering is how uplifting it can be.

The difference we can make and how grateful patients are when we help them to do the things they love to do is incredible. You experience the good times and the difficult times with the patient and their families.

“The reason why I love my job is we are able to be completely patient centred and to take the time with patients and their families to think outside the box. For example, we had a patient who was desperate to get out of bed having been cared for in bed for over a month. He saw it as an impossible task due to being in a very small room that was full of furniture with nobody to assist with clearing space.

“We came in and made it happen as we are able to break down the problem and use our resources, experience, and specialist palliative care skills to achieve the patient’s wishes and goals.

The patient was able to be hoisted out of bed which then led to him being able to spend time in all areas of his home and eventually out into a wheelchair to enjoy his outside space. I remember him using the words ‘you saved my life’.”

Take a look at our vacancies at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice today:



About Sue Ryder

Sue Ryder supports people through the most difficult times of their lives. Whether that’s a terminal illness or the loss of a loved one – we’re there when it matters.

For over 65 years our doctors, nurses and carers have given people the compassion and expert care they need to help them live the best life they possibly can.

In order to continue to provide and develop our services and expert care we rely predominantly on income from our charity shops, fundraising activities, and donations from members of the public.

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