Spotlight on Chris Seddon and Katy Lehman, our friends at Nook Mortgages. Supporting Wirral Hospice St John’s as part of a heartfelt Thank You to our Hospice at Home service #hospiceheroes #wirralhospice #hospicecare #caring #wellbeing #hospiceathome #fundraising #thankyou

You don’t need to know someone for a really long time to hold them in high regard.

This is what I felt when I met Chris Seddon and Katy Lehman of Nook Mortgages, alongside Wirral Hospice’s Senior Fundraising Officer, Jamie-Leigh Burgess, for the first time, recently.

It is also what comes over loud and clear when Chris describes the care given to his Dad, Colin, by Wirral Hospice St John’s Hospice at Home service in 2017.

Colin and Chris’s mum, Sue, had welcomed their first grandchildren, Pippa and Summer, into their lives by then (Summer was born in September 2016). So alongside Sue, Chris, his wife, Jo, his younger brother Paul and his wife/partner, Beth, and youngest brother Phil and his wife/partner, Emma, Colin had his family close by in the final months of his life.

Colin lived with the knowledge of his oesophageal cancer for only four months, from September 2016, and spent time having treatment in hospital from that November.

As the illness progressed Colin was taken home in January 2017 and Hospice at Home’s Health Care Assistant, Helen Marsh, became involved in his care alongside the Marie Curie nurses (who are also often referred and partnered by the hospice to bring their specialist care into people’s lives).

It was, sadly,  to be the final week of Colin’s life and Helen’s natural compassion, while listening intently, had enabled him to open up about what he wanted and his wishes after his passing, although he never spoke with the family about not being around with, and for, them all.

Chris remembers how important the Hospice at Home service was for his Dad and the respite it gave his Mum, him personally, and the whole family.

“As well as caring for dad we were asked how we were feeling too. It was a great help.”

Chris describes his dad as his hero and he remembers Colin had been so brave and considerate with his illness, to the point that he wanted everyone else to be looked after.

When Chris describes the care his dad received you can tell it had a profound effect on him. He resolved to do what he could to help the hospice raise funds and this has been accomplished in a number of ways.

As well as completing walks for sponsorship there is now an annual memorial golf day at Caldy Golf Club where Colin, Chris and his brothers played together happily as members there for many years. There’s also a definite legacy now, as Chris is only too happy to tell me he recently won a prestigious trophy, The Jubilee Trophy, so his name will be on the club winner’s board for infinity. Bravo Chris!

So now Chris and his business partner, Katy, at Nook Mortgages in Hoylake, also make a kind quarterly donation to Wirral Hospice St John’s from any profit they make from their friendly service. It’s a classic ‘affinity’ relationship and we’re very grateful for their kind contributions.

Both Chris and Katy were keen that their customer focused business should operate in as ethical a way as possible. If honest and reliable advice is what they promise, that had to be reflected in their commitment to the wider community and chosen charity.

Another way in which this was clearly highlighted is when full lockdown was in operation Nook arranged a partnership with Dodo Pizza and Wok and Go to deliver food to NHS and hospice staff in Wirral sending more than 2,500 pizzas to key workers in the borough.

They’re just very good people and on 15th October, Chris and Katy, alongside their families celebrated one year of trading as Nook Mortgages.

From Wirral Hospice St John’s we wish them all very many, many happy returns.

Spotlight On: Jill Littlewood, Clinical Manager for the Inpatient Unit at #wirralhospice – #nurse #palliativecare #wirral #hospicehero

 Jill DrinksFor Jill Littlewood, everything is about putting the patients of  Wirral Hospice St John’s at the heart of all that we do. “The care we give has been greatly enhanced by the development of the services we provide, both here and out in our Wirral communities. The various hospice teams that support our patients and their families, get together regularly to agree the best ways in which we can help our patients live as full a life as possible.”

Jill joined the hospice in January 2014, and as Inpatients Ward Manager, she has a very busy job that she finds wholly fulfilling. This fact shines out of every sentence she utters. “I love the passionate commitment of the people I work with; the staff and the volunteers. We all care about the wellbeing of our patients and their families and, professionally, I couldn’t work with a better team. Sometimes, the work is challenging but we help each other, as we do with our patients, over a cup of tea and a chat. Sometimes I need to look after the team and sometimes they have to look after me.”

After serving 40 years in the health services, 37 as a nurse, Yorkshire born Jill has seen it all. So, how did she choose her profession? “At 16 I didn’t know what I wanted to do. My dad worked as a catering manager at Huddersfield Hospital and he got me a job in the kitchen! I’ve always loved cooking – people at the hospice will tell you about my baking – so I went to college to do a catering course. I really enjoyed it but as I was also working in the hospital I realised that I could do more to help if I became a nurse. I studied at Huddersfield Hospital and lived there, at the nurse’s home, until I gained my qualifications”.

Since then a full and varied career has seen Jill honing her expertise to the greater benefit of our patients. Having worked across the whole spectrum of nursing; in operating theatres, in ICUs, gynaecology and, with 22 years as a district nurse in Chester, Jill now pursues her ultimate vocation, palliative care.

“Wirral Hospice St John’s is the best place in the world for us to support people, often at the most challenging time for them and their families. Our job is to get people who may be experiencing uncontrolled pain or severe discomfort, as a result of their illnesses, back to their own home environment. Patients come to us at the Inpatient Ward when referred to the hospice by a hospital doctor, GP, district nurse or other healthcare professional.

People are generally admitted for, up to, an initial two week period, depending on the progress of their individual illnesses. Patient’s needs; physical, psychological and spiritual, are all catered for so that they can look forward to a return to familiar surroundings as soon as we can stabilise their condition.

Once people return home they can also receive our Hospice at Home service which, as well as providing a regular friendly and familiar face from the hospice, supports partners, family members (often 24-hr carers) and other carers to take a little time of their own to tend to their own wellbeing. So while Hospice at Home is with the patient, their carers might be shopping or be able to take a short break for a couple of hours.

In her ‘real’ life Jill is happily married to Steve (a retired Psychiatrist) whom she met in her home county of Yorkshire some 40 years ago. She has two children, Rachel and Anthony, who have both blessed her in the last couple of years with her precious granddaughters. Oldest granddaughter, Olivia, is two (she features a little later in this story), while, only 10 weeks ago, Anthony’s partner, Felicity, gave birth to Daisy, granddaughter number two.

Olivia has already written her place in hospice history by introducing ‘Granny’ Jill to internet viral sensation the Baby Shark challenge. Jill was so taken by the fun they were both having learning the moves to the song that she shared with colleagues, Infection Control nurse, Chantelle Hardman, Nicola D’Amelio, Clinical Governance Manager and Ward Sister, Clare Norman.

It was deemed a fun challenge to get more of the hospice team involved in. So Pied Piper, Jill, gathered up a growing number of willing participants and within an hour or so the music was played, the Baby Shark challenge was met and the video recording shared on the hospice’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. It has reached more than half a million people to date, featured on BBC Breakfast, Lorraine and other media channels, including The Daily Mirror’s Facebook page.

Another of Jill’s passions is for singing! A proud member of the Chester Operatic Society, she puts her ability to great use for the hospice in early December, helping our Carol Choir to hit the right notes to add to the ambience of our annual Light up a Life switch on service.

So, sing it from the rooftops, Jill’s legacy at the hospice is secure. After 39 years as a nurse, Jill tells us that she takes most pleasure in helping younger  – her words – staff and nurses to develop into their roles at Wirral Hospice St John’s. She sees her role as helping those people to “get skilled up, to do well and to get on”.

What is certain is that the future is bright for Wirral Hospice St John’s if those younger people listen to, and learn from, the ever enthusiastic, Jill Littlewood.

Author: Billy Howard

Make A Will Month – April 2015 #futureplanning #family #charity

wirral_hospice_extension_square_july_2014Making a legally valid will is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that your loved ones are provided for when you are no longer around to look out for them.

Many people do not want to consider making a will yet or think that they will get to it another time, or they may even be worried about the cost of it.

Unfortunately in this country, if your wishes are not drawn up officially then legally your assets are at the mercy of the government, which could leave behind big problems for your loved ones that could take many years to sort out.

If you have assets of any kind and loved ones you would like to look after, it’s crucial that you have a will. The law does not recognise unmarried couples either so if one of you dies suddenly without a will, your partner could be left without anything.

Wills are legally-binding documents and although you can make wills online cheaply and even for free, it is advisable to get professional support because even small errors could cause big problems for the future.

It can usually cost in the region of £150+ for a single will and £250+ for a double will. More complex estates, for example those involving several properties, savings accounts or business assets can take much longer to work on and are understandably more expensive.

Wirral Hospice St John’s has formed partnerships with a number of local solicitors who are all willing to draw up wills at their own expense throughout April.

However, the solicitors are requesting that individuals make a fair donation to the Hospice in return for this service, which is a suggested minimum donation of £80 for a single will and £150 for a double will.

Appointments need to be booked in advance with each of the participating solicitors. Slots will fill up very quickly; early booking is advised so as not to be disappointed!

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Dr Fawad Ahmad about our work in the community #hospicecare #familiesmatter

wirral_hospice_fawad_ahmadOver the last few weeks we have been talking about Wirral Hospice St John’s reaching out into the community, and the phrase ‘Hospice without walls’ has been used. In essence, this is giving patients who are not actually staying in the Hospice access to the services and benefits it can offer. It allows them to remain in their own homes during what can be a very difficult phase of their lives.

Palliative care consultant Dr Fawad Ahmad is a crucial member of the team that is turning the phrase into reality. Within the Hospice he takes responsibility for eight of the beds in the 16-bed Inpatient Unit. In addition, he and his consultant colleague, Dr Helen Emms, spend much of their time out in the community.

“We go to the homes of patients who cannot attend Outpatient Clinics for one reason or another. We get requests from their GP, the district nurse or the Community Palliative Care team, and we carry out assessments with a holistic view, looking at patients’ physical, psychological and spiritual needs, as well as their social conditions.

Together with whoever made the referral, the patient themselves and their families and carers we aim to devise a needs-based plan resulting in the best possible care for the patient.” 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.

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