Bethan Phillips, 26, has worked at Trinity for 3 years. Here she talks about what it’s like to work on Trinity’s inpatient unit at Christmas.

At Trinity, we try and make Christmas at the hospice as much like home as possible. We decorate the tree, putting baubles around and things like that.  We play Christmas carols. And there are too many chocolates, biscuits and sweets for anyone to ever eat. There is just that nice, warm Christmas feeling. 

Our goal is to make it the best day possible for the people under our care. Some people ask to stay for Christmas. They know they don’t have to worry about cooking Christmas dinner and their family can come and join them which is a relief. Whereas some people really want to go home so we try to support them to go home for the day, Christmas Eve to Boxing Day. We hold their bed so they can come back if they aren’t feeling up to it.

The ward is always really busy at Christmas as literally everyone and their dog comes to visit which can be really nice but also a bit exhausting for the patients.  James the chef always does a big roast dinner and makes a big effort. We all sit around the table on the ground floor and have Christmas dinner together with the patients and their families if they want to.

One Christmas, there was one lady who didn’t have any visitors. She didn’t want to come out of her room and she wasn’t hugely hungry. So we pulled a cracker together, I gave her a foot massage and then I made her tiny roast dinner on a little plate so she didn’t feel overwhelmed by too much food and could still join in. It’s so important to have that time with patients.

Unfortunately, not everyone makes it to Christmas Day. I remember one family who loved Christmas, but sadly it looked like the patient wouldn’t make it to the day. So a couple of weeks before the whole family came and there was a big frenzy.  They wore Christmas jumpers, wrapped presents in the room, and sang Christmas carols. They had a big Christmas celebration with about 25 people. We left them to it. Christmas is a time of year for spending time with the people you love. You don’t need a nurse there all the time. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to step back and let them have that time to celebrate.

The team spirit is amazing at Christmas as we are all working towards a common goal.  For some people, it’s their last Christmas and they know that. Making it special even though they are in a hospice is really important. It’s all stuff we would do every day but at Christmas we just try to make it that little bit more special.

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To find out more about how you can help Trinity continute to help those who need us this Christmas, please visit our Making Christmas Happen page.