Staff Story

Working at the Hospice – Rachel Ayling

We talked with Rachel Ayling, one of our Senior Healthcare Assistants, about how she feels working at St Wilfrid’s.

My name is Rachel Ayling, my role is Senior Healthcare Assistant at St Wilfrid’s and I’ve worked here for 6 months.

How did you come to work here at St Wilfrid’s?

Previously I worked at St Barnabas Hospice in Worthing. We had recently had my daughter’s granddad cared for at St Wilfrid’s and she was talking to me about how lovely and beautiful a place it was, so when the position became available, I decided to apply for the job and was lucky enough to get it.

How has working in a hospice been?

I’ve worked in hospices for nearly 37 years. When I first started, it was because someone I knew was in a hospice and I had seen the care that people get offered at hospices and it was my cup of tea and fit me nicely. You’re able to give the care you want to give and you have the time, whereas at a hospital, which I’ve worked in, you don’t have that time to give.

How have you found working here?

It’s been lovely, everyone’s so friendly. Immediately when I came for my interview, and as I said to my husband, everyone talks to you and are so friendly and happy in their jobs. It was so welcoming, and the Hospice at Home team are like a little family.

What is it like to be a part of the Hospice at Home team?

It’s fabulous, you get the best of caring. You get to see people in their own homes and are in a privileged position of being taken into their worlds and their families. It’s an honour really.

What does hospice care mean to you?

I just think you can’t get any better. You get the time. When I had somebody being looked after, it was like having a big hug. Everybody is there for you as well as the person who is dying.

Now as a healthcare assistant, you’re giving that care and getting that privilege to be allowed into a family setting at their most difficult time and you have the time to give that care. At the end of the day, if you don’t give good care at that time, there’s no going back and doing it right.

It’s looking after the whole person, one day you could be going in and just sitting and talking, another day it’s personal care. It’s whatever that person wants, they and the family are in charge. You get an idea of their life, through pictures on the walls and their surroundings. It’s not for everyone but those who choose to die at home, they get to be where they are comfortable and somewhere they know and makes things slightly easier for them.

What would you say to someone who wanted to join the hospice workforce?

It’s not always an easy job, there are sad times but a majority of the time it’s a happy place as you come away knowing that you’ve given the best care you possibly can. You definitely need empathy and compassion for the job and a willingness to help people at their most vulnerable time.

I’ve got an amazing team to work with and we work together really well as we all want to achieve the same goal of giving somebody the best death they can have.

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