Continuing our series, focusing on valued members of the Dartford community, Kelly met Kay Elliot from ellenor – the only charity in Kent to provide hospice care for people of all ages.
Kay, has lived in the Dartford area for 35 years. She is married with two grown up sons and is employed at ellenor as a Paediatric Palliative Care nurse Specialist. Kay explained that her role centres on working within ellenor’s Children’s Hospice Care team, providing vital care to babies, children and young people who have life threatening or life limiting illnesses.
‘We don’t have a children’s hospice building for children – instead we provide vital care in the comfort of a children’s own home. We can also visit the child at school, rather than home if the family prefer. We give advice on symptoms. If we are in an end of life situation we can facilitate that at home as needed. We always have a qualified nurse on 24 hour call, who can visit and liaise with services as required. ‘
Kay explained how she came into her role ‘I went into nursing as a mature student. I then worked at Queen Mary’s Hospital on the Children’s Ward. I saw the ellenor nurses and it became my dream to join them. I worked at Demelza in order to get my palliative experience and was then lucky enough to move over to ellenor.’
Asked about her future plans Kay said: ‘The charity is developing. Our role is so varied, no two days are the same. We are a close team, and that’s important. We have a very low turnover of staff. I’m not going anywhere.’
She went on to explain ‘I love the contact with the family. As a team, we try to care for the whole family. For me, it is a great privilege to go on a difficult journey with the family. The family have to trust us. We can’t change a prognosis, but our job is to make a difference.’
ellenor is a charity, not part of the NHS, so relies on the generosity of the local community to be able to provide the best care and support to families facing terminal illness.
To find out more about ellenor see ellenor.org
to make a donation go to ellenor.org/make-a-gift
Follow on twitter at: twitter.com/ellenorcharity
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