Barbara Tingley has worked as a Healthcare Assistant at St Wilfrid’s Hospice for 27 years, providing patients with their daily care and supporting their relatives when they come to visit.

She is the first of three generations to work at the hospice, with her daughter Lauren having worked here for the last three years, and her granddaughter Charlie who started in September 2020.

From L to R: Barbara, Lauren and Charlie

We recently spoke to them to find out more about their roles and what they like the most about working for the hospice.

When Barbara first started in 1993, St Wilfrid’s Hospice was located in Mill Gap Road, where the Inpatient Unit accommodated just 10 patients. She has since seen many changes to the hospice, including the move to Broadwater Way in 2014.

The former hospice building in Mill Gap Road

As the hospice has grown and developed, Barbara has also seen many new roles and teams introduced. This includes the Care At Home team, who visit patients in their own homes across our catchment area. Within this team are Lauren and Charlie, who both work as Care Assistants, providing high quality, personal care to patients who wish to die in the comfort of their own homes.

‘I wasn’t too sure that the role would be right for me at first,’ said Lauren, ‘However, I took a chance and applied and I’m so glad I did.

‘My mum has worked at the hospice for as long as I can remember and she has always loved her job. Now I know why! I love being able to make the hardest times in people’s lives, hopefully, that little bit better. I love the feeling of coming away from a patient and feeling like you’ve made a difference, no matter how big or small.

‘It is a great honour to help people to fulfil their last wishes to die at home and to support their families as well.’

Whereas Charlie has always loved the idea of working in Nursing and has always been inspired by Barbara, it didn’t occur to her that she might want to work at the hospice until after she had helped her family care for her Grandma. 

‘I love that I am able to support and care for those at the end of their lives and to be there to support their families,’ she said.

This is a feeling that Barbara also shares: ‘My favourite thing about my role is the close contact you have with the patients and building relationships with them and their families. I love hearing their stories and they love telling you about their life. You meet all sorts of different people; it opens your eyes.’

While their shared love for their jobs will always be there, the coronavirus pandemic has been the biggest challenge of their careers. ‘It was strange that we would see each other at work, but we couldn’t really see each other at home or give each other a hug,’ said Barbara.

‘It’s been emotionally challenging, but within our teams we’ve all looked after each other. We all missed our family but we became family.’

Although they may look a bit different at the moment, dressed from head to toe in PPE, the level of care will always stay the same and we would like to thank them for all their hard work, dedication and commitment.