FOYLE HOSPICE I love my job - it’s the most rewarding thing you can do

Clinical Ward Sister Helen Foley pictured with Staff Nurse Julie Devlin, at the Foyle Hospice this week. DER4013MC017
Clinical Ward Sister Helen Foley pictured with Staff Nurse Julie Devlin, at the Foyle Hospice this week. DER4013MC017
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Helen Foley has been working at the Foyle Hospice for the past 21 years.

But she says no two days are ever the same.

As Clinical Ward Sister Helen has joint responsibility for running the inpatient unit alongside Marie Dunlop.

“It’s a demanding job but there’s never one day I wake up and think that I don’t want to come to work,” she says.

“Coming to work here was like placing the last piece in a jigsaw puzzle.

“I had come back to Derry in 1993 when I became pregnant with my first child. I got a permanent post in the Hospice in 1993 and I’ve been here ever since.”

Part of Helen’s job is working closely with the home care team and palliative care team in Altnagelvin Hospital.

“People are often shocked to hear that there are a bigger majority of patients that go home than die in the Foyle Hospice,” she said. “Patients come in for respite, for symptom management and then end of life care.

“But the majority of the patients do return home again.

“No two days are ever the same here. The nurses here are a great team and are very respectful.

“They don’t treat any two patients the same, every aspect of their care is individualised.

“It’s the most rewarding job but it can be difficult.

“But we support one another and that’s important.

“The Foyle Hospice is a very happy place to work, often all you hear is laughter. It’s like a home from home.

“It is a privilege to be able to nurse someone in their last days and be there with them and their families.”

Helen revealed how a recent refurbishment of the Foyle Hospice has made a huge difference to patient
care.

“The rooms are all bright and airy. They all have patio doors that open on to the gardens and all have a view of the Foyle Bridge.

“People would say you get used to working in the hospice. But the day you get used to losing people is the time to walk away.

“You never get used to losing people and that’s why it’s so important to have a good team around you.”

Helen revealed that the Foyle Hospice hopes in the future to begin a 24 hours admission and homecare procedure, funding permitting.

However she revealed that they do have a 24 hour helpline in place where someone is always at the end of the phone to help.