What is it like working in a Marie Curie hospice over Christmas?

This Christmas, Marie Curie hospices across the UK will be a hive of activity, with staff working to make sure people living with a terminal illness and their families are being cared for through the festive period.

Marie Curie Nurse Kelly, whose brother received care at the hospice

Kelly Stewart is one of the many members of the nursing team and staff at the Marie Curie Hospice, West Midlands.Kelly works on the inpatient ward, and this year will be the first time she will be working on Christmas Day.

“I’ll be working the late shift this year on Christmas Day, so it means that I will still get to see my children in the morning. We’re all aware that, as nurses, there will be times where we will be working Christmas Day and we’re absolutely fine with that.

“It’s a nice feeling to know you’re going to see the patients on Christmas Day; I’m looking forward to trying to make the day as special as I can for them.

“It can sometimes be hard knowing that you won’t see your family on Christmas Day, but we have a team of nurses who are dedicated to providing the best for the patients, every day of the year.”

Caring for Kelly’s brother

Kelly understands first-hand the value of the holistic approach to care that the hospice staff take, since her brother was cared for at the hospice.

“I was more than happy for my brother to come here because I knew he would receive the best care possible. He only spent a short time here but I would not have wanted to see him go anywhere else.

“It is not just about the care and support the patient receives, but also the rest of the family. The whole family received support from the hospice during this difficult time.”

Ward Sister Andrea Salmon will be caring for her patients over Christmas Day

“Families can come and eat their Christmas lunch together”

Ward Sister Andrea Salmon will also be working at the hospice this Christmas Day and Boxing Day, having working over Christmas in previous years also.

“We keep the day very relaxed and leave it to the patient to decide how they want to spend Christmas Day. Families can come and eat their Christmas lunch together and we get presents for the patients.

“Every patient is different and some prefer to keep the day as close to a normal one as possible. Our main priority as nursing staff, is making sure the patient is cared for and looked after, just the same as any other day of the year.”

This December, in partnership with The Birmingham Mail's Christmas appeal, ‘Pay for Christmas Day’ is aiming to raise enough funds to cover the running costs at the hospice for the 25 December. Help dedicated staff like Kelly and Andrea by donating online at www.justgiving.com/payforxmasday