Sarah Dowd smiling at cameraQ: Sarah, how have you arrived at your role as Head of In-Patient Services at Princess Alice Hospice?

A: I qualified as a social worker in 2013 and began supporting children and their families here shortly afterwards. Since then, I’ve worked in the community, on the In-Patient Unit and in the Enhanced Support Service. I love the unpredictability of my role – as a social worker, there’s always been a lot of problem solving, sometimes firefighting, too, so those transferable skills allow me to support people and manage change positively. Having worked with the clinical teams already, I know just how incredible they all are.

Q: When you think about people first arriving on the In-Patient Unit, how do you want them to feel?

A: That they belong; that they are welcome; that they are safe, and that they are seen.

Q: What do you think are the most common misconceptions about staying at a Hospice?

A: That everybody comes here to die. In fact, one in three people on our In-Patient Unit is discharged home or somewhere else. So it’s not all about dying, it’s actually about making the most of every day and living life to the full while you can.. We’re proud of the support we give to families.

Q: What’s the most important life lesson that working at Princess Alice Hospice has taught you?

A: I believe strongly that how we treat people who are dying reflects society’s wider values. Being able to support somebody to die how they would choose to is an amazing privilege. It’s so important to acknowledge the respect, tenderness and reverence that dying deserves.

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