Stepping in to your shoes: Jess Dixon
Those of us in the Supporter Relations and other non-Clinical teams don’t always get to see the day to day workings of the Hospice up close. But as fundraisers, it’s really important that we see first-hand where the money we raise goes – and can communicate this to our donors. For that reason, we now have a shadowing scheme - we each spend one day on shift with a member of the Care Team, learning all about their roles, interacting with the children and young people and seeing the Hospice through the eyes of our families. There’s often nervousness around doing this – it takes us out of our comfort zone! But amazing experiences live just beyond the end of your comfort zone and spending a day on shift with our Care Team was definitely an amazing experience for me.
In the morning I was shadowing Andy, who was looking after a little boy who was in the Hospice for end-of-life care. When he got out of bed, we took him for breakfast in the dining room where he had fruit and juice. I learned how to communicate with a non-verbal child using yes/no questions and simple Makaton signs. Despite the seriousness of his condition, he was such a happy child and constantly smiling and laughing. He wanted to watch a film, so we went into the Multi-Sensory Room and set up “Despicable Me” on the big wall projector. After lunch (fish and chips!) he was feeling tired and wanted to have a sleep. I learned how to use a sling and hoist to get a young person safely from their wheelchair into bed. In the afternoon I spent some time in the Young People’s Lounge and met some of the young adults who come in to the Hospice for the weekday daycare service. I hardly ever go into the Young People’s Lounge, even on Hospice tours, so it was lovely to see it through the eyes of the young people. It’s a really homely and welcoming space with the comfiest sofas in the world!
There were many, many stand out moments for me, but I wanted to share just two themes that really stuck with me:
- The way that everything at Rainbows is led by the children and young people. They get to choose what they want to eat, what activities they want to do, even when they get up and go to bed. They’re included in decision making at every step and never just “told” what’s going to happen.
- The amazing and endless compassion displayed by every single member of the care and nursing team. They display so much patience and so much genuine care in everything they do and really go above and beyond in every single interaction with the children and families. If I could be half as kind and compassionate every day as they all are, I would consider that a win.
I also remembered all over again what a happy place Rainbows is. I’ve come away with renewed appreciation for what we do and how much it means to the families and young people, which I hope I can bring back to my work and share with all our wonderful donors.