Bedford born Kerri Bicknell shines a light on her new role as a Sue Ryder palliative care social worker supporting patients, families and carers, as part of this year’s Hospice Care Week.
42-year-old Kerri joined Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice’s Family Support Team in August this year having worked in the NHS as a social worker for over 18 years.
Her role involves providing advice and support to patients and their families on anything that matters to them.
“It might be that a patient is facing financial issues, so I might help people get the benefits they are eligible for, support with filling out forms and signpost them to organisations that can help,” shares Kerri.
“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 social workers, we help with anything that isn’t medical, and whilst none of us can change a patient’s situation, we hope that we can make their last days or weeks, just that little bit easier,” she adds.
Kerri knew she wanted to work in the care sector from a young age, when her parents were foster carers. They regularly had social workers visit their home and she would see just how they made a difference.
It was when Kerri’s mum received end-of-life care at the Moggerhanger hospice before she sadly died there two and a half years ago, that she saw first-hand how important the wide range of expert and compassionate care they provide is to patients and their families and how she could use her experience to support people.
“When I used to visit my mum at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice, I would think to myself – wow – this is such an amazing place,” said Kerri. “Everyone is so focussed on the individual patient, supporting them and their families.”
It was these visits that started Kerri’s interest in working in palliative care and in April 2022, she decided to take a career break and join Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice as a ward volunteer. “Being on the ward, I got an insight into what it was like to work in palliative care and the breadth of roles that were at play to support patients and their families,
“People may think that a hospice is a sad place, a place where people just go to die, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a comforting place and knowing that there is around-the-clock care for a loved one can really help take the pressure off the patient and their family.
“When I volunteered on the inpatient unit, the feedback I have had from patients and their families is that everything about Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice is exceptional from the people to the hospice itself and the beautiful gardens. It’s just a lovely place to be.”
Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice is currently recruiting a number of volunteer and staff roles, and Kerri hopes by sharing her experience she can encourage more people to find out about the rewarding opportunities available to support local people and families. For further information email contact email@example.com or call 01767 642 410
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 worker, 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.