Spotlight On: Assistant Practitioner, Ashley Quinn, building a firm foundation for the future #healthcare #hospicehero #wirralhospice #caring #wellbeing #fun #thankyou #lifelonglearning

“What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?” Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Ashley 1If you’re in healthcare, and the first word somebody says, when asked, is that you’re “kind”, then you’re definitely in the right profession. True kindness is showing the same consideration, generosity and care for people that you do with your own close friends and family.

Ashley Quinn, our Assistant Practitioner, embodies kindness.

Mix that into 4 years all-round experience here; assisting within our Inpatient ward, being out-and-about with our Hospice at Home team and, nowadays, embedded in our Wellbeing Centre. Now, after successfully completing a foundation degree (fdSc) in health and social care, Ashley is building a future to the benefit of the people who access our hospice services.

We sat down with Ashley and asked her to share how she arrived at this point in her life and what her ambitions are.

She’s from Wallasey and went to secondary school at Weatherhead High. She confesses, she wasn’t ready for academic pursuits! At 16 she left school to go into hairdressing. She wanted to get straight into work and spent 5 happy years learning her trade.

Although she enjoyed her job immensely she was becoming increasingly inspired by her Mum, Kim, a district nurse in Wallasey. Ashley also particularly loved chatting to the older people whose hair she was doing and became interested in their stories, and their lives.

So, taking the plunge to combine care and the support of older people, Ashley joined Wirral based organisation, Professional Carers. Under contract to Wirral Borough Council and Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) they provide a number of services for people  including domiciliary home care, supported living, as well as short term assessment and re-enablement.

For people using the services, Ashley would carry out duties of personal care and safety, medication prompts, outings, dementia care and other sitting services. It was all great grounding for her future career at Wirral Hospice St John’s.

To our great fortune, four years ago, Ashley successfully applied for a job here as healthcare assistant and has been building all the skills necessary for her chosen vocation. She’s quick to say that she has the best teachers, all helping to consolidate her practise and knowledge.

The initial guidance provided by our Inpatient ward manager, Jill Littlewood,  and ‘lifetime achievement award’ winning nurse, Brenda Taylor in Outpatients (pictured here with Ashley), helped enormously in shaping Ashley’s experience.Ashley 3

Now Ashley is integral in our Wellbeing Centre, working with patients with a range of conditions and healthcare support needs. Helen Parkinson, our Clinical Services Manager, describes her as “amazing, a pivotal member of the team.”

She’s spent the last two years travelling to the Warrington Campus of the University of Chester to study for her foundation degree in health and social care. Of course, she passed with flying colours! It’s another milestone on her journey to a full nursing degree.

Jane and Ashley

In her ‘real life’, Ashley, lives with Richard, her partner of 9 years. After saving up for three years they bought their house in Wallasey and moved in, in 2017. Ashley’s dad, Dave, is a builder and has helped them with a complete refurbishment, including a brand new drive. The most recent addition to the family is Cavapoo, Poppy.

On the hospice, Ashley says, “I love working here, it’s so personally rewarding. I know we’re giving people the best possible care and, in the Wellbeing Centre, I see how much people respond to the support we deliver, how they improve and look forward to coming here.”

(Here’s Ashley, on the left, with her current mentor, Jane Slack, our acting Deputy Clinical Services Manager in Wellbeing, celebrating after hearing their academic results).

I ask various managers for their assessment of Ashley and their testimony is glowing; “I’m really proud of her,” “she’s full of integrity,” “she’s dedicated,” “genuine and reliable”, “Ashley is becoming an established oak from the little acorn who joined us.”

Keep growing Ashley, everyone involved with Wirral Hospice St John’s will be truly delighted!

Author: Billy Howard


New Marie Curie report highlights inequalities in #palliative care non-cancer patients receive

wirral_hospice_dr_catherine_hayle_consultantA new Marie Curie report out today reveals inequalities across the country for people needing to access non-cancer palliative care services.

Wirral Hospice St John’s supports the findings of this report and understands how difficult it can be for patients with conditions other than cancer to access the right care for them. There can be a lot of confusion about what hospice care is for, because there is an assumption that it is solely for people with cancer requiring care at the very end of their lives. Although the majority of Wirral Hospice’s patients do have cancer, it also provides care for people with a much broader range of illnesses, including heart, kidney, lung and neurological conditions.

Dr Catherine Hayle, Consultant in Palliative Medicine at Wirral Hospice, specialises in non-cancer conditions. She joined the Hospice two years ago and her role is to develop non-cancer care services, and to strengthen relationships with GPs and health teams across Wirral so that its specialist care can be accessed by anyone who needs it.

“In just two years, we have seen a huge increase in non-cancer referrals. This is really important because it is vital that people with chronic illnesses are able to access good quality care in the same way that patients with cancer can.

As well as caring for our patients in terms of physical symptom management, we also provide practical and emotional support. And crucially, we provide support to a patient’s carers and family too. By looking at the whole picture, the Hospice can help those living with serious illness to achive the best possible quality of life for them and their family.”

Dr Hayle was interviewed live on BBC Radio Merseyside this morning, scroll to 1hr 6mins to listen to the whole piece.

If you or anyone you know might benefit from hospice care, please contact your GP or visit Wirral Hospice’s website to find out more.

Author: Teresa Nightingale

Dr Catherine Hayle about broadening range of illnesses that need #hospicecare #familiesmatter

wirral_hospice_catherine_hayleWhen Dame Cicely Saunders founded the Hospice movement in 1967, she was primarily concerned with cancer patients. In recent years thinking has moved on, and now Hospice services are opening up to patients based on their needs, not just their diagnoses. In other words, people with illnesses other than cancer who are in need of palliative care can now access Hospice care.

This is an aspect of Hospice care that Wirral Hospice St John’s is embracing and it’s a key focus to develop our work in this area. When Dr Catherine Hayle joined the organisation as a locum Consultant in Palliative Medicine, her role was to develop the Hospice services specifically in relation to caring for the needs of patients with non-malignant conditions, including, for example, chronic heart, kidney and lung disease.

Much of Catherine’s time has been taken up with putting the word out to the GPs, the hospital teams, and meeting with older people in Wirral, to let them know that the Hospice care is available to all patients who need it.

“In just a year we have seen a threefold increase in non-cancer referrals. Improvements in treatment have been so great that now two out of three cancer patients live for more than five years after diagnosis. Cancer, although very serious, can now be considered to be a chronic illness, in the way that respiratory disease and heart failure are.” Read the rest of this entry »

Viki Whaley talks about #HospiceatHome #familiesmatter

wirral_hospice_viki_whaleyHaving joined Wirral Hospice St John’s as Ward Manager in July 2012, Viki Whaley has seen her role change substantially. She is now Clinical Manager with responsibility for the integration of Information Technology from a clinical point of view; she is also responsible nursing staff levels and for the Hospice at Home service.

There is a common thread running through these areas: the enrichment of care by integrating all the services a patient might need.

“I see the new build at the Hospice adding huge value to our work By bringing all the health and social care professionals together under one roof we can ensure that work is not wasted through duplication. And by focusing on improving processes we can help nurses spend more time on patient care, which is what everyone wants.”

The new IT system will make a huge difference in speed and efficiency. “All the specialist nurses and district nurses will be using the same system. This will streamline the collection of information, leading to improved communications between all the services.

Read the rest of this entry »

Elaine Pugh, Outpatient Services Manager on patient care and the new build #familiesmatter

wirral_hospice_elaine_pugh_outpatients_services_managerElaine Pugh has been a health and social care professional for thirty years, and Outpatient Services Manager at Wirral Hospice St John’s for the last two. She is passionate about supporting patients, their families, and also the wider circle of carers who surround them.

“People can live well with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses. We support patients with a whole range of services, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social care, creative therapies, spiritual support and complementary therapies. Treating each person on an individual level is so important to ensuring that they get care and support that is tailored specifically to their needs.”

To this end, Elaine has researched the views of patients through focus groups to identify how best the Hospice can enrich its care. She is fired with enthusiasm as she sees the organisation increasingly reaching out in its quest to create a ‘Hospice without walls’.

“This new building at the Hospice is going to be a fantastic resource. It will give us the ability to help all those patients affected by these serious conditions and also support the professionals who care for them.

We can now welcome in other professionals who would normally be based elsewhere, sharing our skills with them and theirs with us. For example, instead of just seeing a specific patient, an expert such as a dietician will be able to use our facilities and help to join-up the care.

Sharing knowledge with each other will give us all more insight into how patients can be helped. Of course, this principle can be replicated over so many areas. Read the rest of this entry »

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