A day in the Life of Rachel, Rehabilitation Assistant | St Joseph's Hospice

A day in the Life of Rachel, Rehabilitation Assistant

Rachel works with our therapy team; four Physiotherapists; two Occupational Therapists; a Dietitian; a Speech and Language Therapist and the Empowered Living Co-ordinator. We asked her some questions about her role and what she likes about working at the hospice.  

What is your role at St Joseph’s Hospice?

No two days are the same. I support the therapists with both inpatients and outpatients, focusing on enabling patients to do the things they want to do again or finding new ways to do tasks.

In the morning handover, therapists assign appropriate patients for me to see that day. After some morning administration, such as ordering therapy equipment or writing up a borough wheelchair referral, I help run the outpatient gym class by supporting people while they're doing their exercises. I enjoy getting to know patients over long periods and seeing real improvements in their quality of life, although it's sad when someone becomes unwell.

In the afternoons, I aim to see patients on the wards. I may support a patient to do specific exercises or supervise everyday mobility practice such as standing up, stair climbing or walking. I often support patients who are practicing techniques that help them to recover from being short of breath. Occupational Therapists often ask me to help people regain or maintain their independence by practicing everyday activities such as making cups of tea, dressing, moving from a bed to a chair or from a wheelchair onto the toilet. I may also assist on visits to patients’ homes to see how it could be adapted to help them to return home safely.

What do you like most about working at the hospice?

No two days are alike. I most enjoy working with patients and relatives face to face. The way everyone in the hospice tries to meet all the needs of our patients makes hospice care stand out for me. I like the fact that we respect a patient’s goals and choice to accept or say no to something, while taking the time to talk things over. I also like the way that we care for and treat anyone, no matter what his or her age, background, beliefs, faith, sexuality, or life choices. Seeing what patients and their families go through gives you an immediate sense of perspective in life. I find the hospice is a spiritual place where you quickly learn and question lots about yourself. 

What is your proudest moment at St Joseph’s?

I would say it's the small things that make a difference, such as taking the time to really listen to someone’s problems and finding out what they want to do about them, or simply encouraging someone to do something again that they thought wouldn't be possible. Finding something to laugh or smile about with someone who is unwell makes me really happy.

Tell us something we don’t know about you

Before working at St Joseph’s I was a secondary school science teacher for a decade and a half. I spend a lot of my leisure time swimming, gardening and walking Sammie, our 8 year old Yorkshire terrier who has no road sense and believes foxes are the enemy! 

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