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The working life of a support services manager

Author: Julie Foley
15 December 2017

Julie Foley is support services manager at St Ann’s Hospice in Greater Manchester. She describes her varied role to ehospice, which can involve anything from ensuring televisions are working to commissioning new green spaces for patients to relax in.

I have worked in the hospice sector for 24 years.  So much has changed in that time, but I am really pleased that our core purpose, which is to ensure that our patients have world-class care and the best quality of life possible, remains the same.

There are never two days the same in my department, to be honest.  My primary responsibility is to ensure that our buildings remain fit for purpose and safe.  But for me, the work we do to our hospice sites is much more than that.  It is about ensuring exemplary surroundings for the patients, and we never forget that.  After all, someone can receive the best nursing care in the world, but if they go into the bathroom and the water is cold, or if they try and watch the TV and it is broken, that really impacts on their overall wellbeing and experience. 

We like to say that our role is about ensuring that the hospice buildings are like five-star hotels for our patients and their families.

I have an amazing team, and one thing I know we all get satisfaction from is the response from the people using our services.  It is such a pleasure to see patients feeling comfortable and at home in St Ann’s – that is what we are about after all.

I also manage individual projects, and it is great being able to see a project through from conception to delivery.  For example, I recently commissioned a new sensory garden for our Little Hulton site which was paid for thanks to Tesco.  It is really blooming, even at this time of year, and is such a relaxing oasis for staff, volunteers, patients and family members alike.

I have also recently created a room for teenagers to relax in, which has been very rewarding.  It is important that there is somewhere for them to go to have time out, and we have created a really pleasing space for them to call their own.

Over the years, hospice care has really broadened out to reach even more people.  With that comes its own set of challenges as we cater for patients with ever more complex needs.  For example, we have recently implemented new dementia-friendly signage and colour schemes for our sites, which should make patients with dementia feel more comfortable and confident in their surroundings.

Some days can be difficult as we never really know what will arise.  But consequently,  the work we do is so varied, and I really love the way we can be involved in so many different parts of hospice life.  The changing hospice sector is very exciting and it is great that there are so many opportunities on the horizon.  But whatever challenges or chances come our way, the St Ann’s family is – and always will be - incredible, and I am proud to be a part of it.

For more information visit St. Ann’s Hospice

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