Three employees embarked on a change they would never have thought possible prior to the closure of the ward at Wigton Hospital.
Brenda Lock, Penny Deakin and Angela Davenport were part of the kitchen staff based in Wigton Community Hospital.
Angela also worked at Maryport Victoria Cottage Hospital.
The two hospitals closed their inpatient beds in 2018 and have enhanced the services they are now able to provide to the wider community in their own homes.
Now, all three are providing critical support as Home Care Practitioners in the Keswick and Solway Integrated Care Communities.
The nature of support they provide ranges from patients who may need a couple of weeks rehab following discharge from hospital, to patients who are at the end of their life.
They regularly go out on double-up visits together helping people to die with dignity in their own homes – an option they didn’t always have until the two community hospitals closed their inpatient beds.
All three have gone on to further training completing their care certificates, various courses provided by the trust and courses in medication, dementia and end of life through Lakes College West Cumbria.
Penny said she really enjoyed her role and added that she wished she had changed years ago.
She said: “The people we care for are such a varied group.
“I love meeting them and their families. It was difficult at first when we are supporting very poorly people but I’m so well supported by everyone in the team.”
Angela added that she didn’t want to stop learning and has ambitions to move into professional qualifications.
She said: “I still pinch myself some days when I reflect on how things have changed.
“We didn’t used to have to do a lot of paperwork but now we are using computers all the time and doing things like agile working.”
Brenda added: “If you told me two years ago what I would be doing now I just wouldn’t have believed you.
“I still miss the kitchen but the camaraderie within the team is amazing. Like Penny, meeting so many people makes most days different.
“I love listening to the life stories our patients share with us. It’s so humbling knowing we make a difference.”
The team are supported by two HCP co-ordinators, Kirsty Rudd and Steve Atkinson.
They said: “Our HCPs are incredible we don’t think people truly realise what they do.
“Any time of day and in all weathers, the team are out across the ICC delivering our service.
“We want them to know just how highly they are valued and respected.
“They are integral members of the rehab teams the backbone of our service I doubt we would have a service without them.”
Vanessa Connor, ICC development manager, said: “These staff have been a very welcome addition to the clinical team, they are delivering excellent care to many patients in the local community including people who are end of life enabling them to die with dignity at home with their loved ones.
“Our HCPs are a very skilled, flexible and invaluable section of the community workforce who have been absolutely crucial in enabling us to maintain high quality community healthcare services during this pandemic.”