Saint Francis Hospice: The cleaning team playing a key role

Sartah-Jane Higbee, domestic team leader at Saint Francis Hospice, Havering-atte-Bower.

Sartah-Jane Higbee, domestic team leader at Saint Francis Hospice, Havering-atte-Bower. - Credit: Archant

In this week’s column from Saint Francis Hospice, we hear from Sarah-Jane Higbee who has a hugely important role as domestic team leader keeping the hospice clean

The girls that have been working throughout these extraordinary times have been amazing.

Our team are responsible for keeping the hospice cleaned to the highest possible standard; we have to be prepared to carry out deep cleans at a moment’s notice, keep up to date with the latest infection control measures and we serve the food to our patients.

The team especially love the food service, as this allows us the opportunity to interact with the patients. Some of the conversations just remind us how privileged we are to work here.

It’s always a very important job, but especially challenging at the moment. As a team, we have not only had to cope with new ways of working, but some have also experienced, first hand, the horrors of this virus.

Through all of it, the team have been supportive caring and kind. We have a bond that will always be there. We have worked closely with colleagues within our directorate, as well as all the clinical services staff. It has been a very steep learning curve, and we have had good days and bad days. Sometimes it all feels a bit too much, and you can’t get your head around the latest updates.

Other days, it feels like we are invincible and nothing fazes us.

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These times are experienced by different members of the team at different times; the important thing is that if someone is having a wobble, everyone else rallies round to help, whether this is by cheering them up, offering an ear to listen, or a shoulder to cry on. We all have different ways of cheering each other up. Caroline bakes cakes, Vincenza says the craziest things and makes us laugh, Debbie keeps everyone entertained, I make silly videos, and Maria, Sharon and Denise are quietly kind.

It feels like there is a protectiveness towards each other; there are unspoken messages where we can just tell that someone needs a bit of support.

We meet every morning to discuss challenges that we have or are facing, and we work together to resolve any issues that may have arisen.

I think the message that I will take from this is, that we are not just work colleagues; we are a work family and together we can do it.

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