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The working life of an Allied Health Services Manager

Author: Rebecca Lewis
08 December 2017

Rebecca Lewis is the Allied Health Services Manager at Marie Curie Hospice: Cardiff and the Vale. Here she tells ehospice about her role supporting the hospice’s team of social workers, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists while developing services across the hospice and in the community.

After qualifying as an occupational therapist, I worked for a few years as a Basic Grade OT, rotating between different specialities for six months at a time.  One of my rotations included acute medicine, which is something I never wanted to do beforehand, OT in this field simply did not appeal to me.  What a surprise I had!  I gained experience of working with patients with life-limiting conditions and found it absolutely enthralling; helping someone get home for their final days was such a rewarding feeling. 

I found everyone came together when we had palliative patients.  Everyone made sure the patient went home if they wanted to.  It was really team work at its best, because you try everything to make sure you get the best for these patients.

After a few more rotations, I was fortunate to be employed by a local community hospice and worked there for a number of years.  I soon came to realise that I had a real passion for palliative care, and now 11 years later I cannot envision working as an OT in any other field. 

Since working at Marie Curie Hospice: Cardiff and the Vale, I had the opportunity to complete a Clinical Leadership and Development course.  This course left me feeling I was not just a number that worked at the hospice but an integral team member that had an influence on patients’ and relatives’ experiences at the hospice. 

At around this time the Allied Health Professionals Service Manager role was advertised and I felt that I was the right person to lead the team in adapting to meet the needs of palliative care patients of the future.    

One of the biggest highlights has been supporting the team to help identify their roles as palliative care OTs, social workers and physiotherapists.  This is something that is often quite difficult to define, however this is the initial essential step in shaping the team to meet the demands of the future. 

Becoming a manager for the first time can be very challenging, especially when you were “one of the team”.  I have spent time deliberating over addressing issues and worrying that I may offend someone, however linking everything back to patient care has supported me in making difficult conversations easier. 

At the moment, palliative care is changing and we have more of a need for Allied Health Professionals to help people manage their long term conditions.

My aims for the future include on-going quality improvement to make sure that we can meet the changing demand facing the palliative care workforce of the future.  Much of this involves supporting patients to identify and adopt coping strategies for their anticipated deterioration, which in turn supports them to live well whilst dying. 

For more information visit Marie Curie Hospice: Cardiff and the Vale

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