Skip to main content

A day in the Life of - Jenny Watmore Eve

Jenny, a Specialist Palliative Care Social Worker, tells us about her working day.

I work with colleagues in the Family Support Service as part of the hospice multi-disciplinary clinical team, 3 days a week. I consider the spiritual, financial, social and psychological needs of the patients and family members that have been referred, providing support and guidance where it is needed.

My day-to-day role is very varied and often challenging but supporting patients and their families in their most difficult times is a real privilege and I feel passionate about my work.

My day begins at 8 am and, after 2 weeks' holiday, I am working from home with a long list of carers and patients to call. I skim through 100 unread emails and flag those to return to before joining a virtual catch-up meeting with the South Locality Team (nurses, hospice at home, therapists and manager). This happens each morning so we can touch base regarding new referrals, people we need to discuss and the workload and home visits scheduled for the day. I agree to make a joint visit with a nurse tomorrow to see a patient who has deteriorated suddenly but is declining care from anyone except his partner who is exhausted, emotionally and physically.

I then speak with my manager and agree to shortlist applicants for a vacancy in the Family Support Service which I do when another meeting is unexpectedly cancelled.

I call the husband of a patient who was transferred to the hospice in-patient unit last week from the hospital. He is very relieved that she is there and her pain is better controlled and praises the compassionate care provided to their family. He tells me she is struggling to come to terms with the devastating losses she is experiencing, particularly the realisation that she will die leaving him to raise their two young children as well as her loss of mobility and total dependence on others. He is finding her distress difficult to witness as he cannot make it better. I give him time to offload and suggest some small things they may be able to do together and he is grateful for my call. I will visit his wife tomorrow.

I look at my allocated caseload of patients and family members and prioritise the calls and visits this week by reading the medical notes to see what has changed in my absence.

I look at my allocated caseload of patients and family members and prioritise the calls and visits this week by reading the medical notes to see what has changed in my absence.

It’s my turn to call the new referrals, sent mostly from the nurses and therapists. I refer one young patient to our counsellors; suggest one carer accepts support for herself as she is exhausted; suggest a patient calls the Macmillan helpline for welfare benefits advice and refer a patient to a local charity who assist with arranging ‘special days out’.

I return to my own caseload before my day ends and call a woman whose husband died recently in our care. She is feeling numb and alone despite being surrounded by well-meaning family and friends. She tells me that their teenage child is the only thing keeping her going at the moment and she cannot imagine her future without the love of her life. I spend time validating her feelings and offer to visit next week.

I close my laptop and reach for my gym kit for a much-needed workout after a busy day.