Jayne Graves is Cook-In-Charge here at St Andrew’s Hospice. Her role is pivotal in allowing us to provide a home-from-home for those in our care, enabling us to offer tasty meals and treats as well as a friendly face for visitors to talk to as she goes around visiting patients in their rooms.
Jayne joined St Andrew’s Hospice 15 years ago, wanting to help people by making their stay comfortable and happy through cooking lovely, healthy meals for patients and their families. On her motivation to join the team here, Jayne says “mealtimes were always a special time in my household, giving the opportunity to not only share lovely food, but also having time to talk to each other and relax at the end of a busy day. I know that, should I ever be away from my home and unable to cook for myself, I would miss sharing dinners with my family and friends so I wanted to offer this home comfort to people at a really difficult time in their lives.”
Before the Coronavirus pandemic hit, Jayne’s job was largely based around preparing and cooking breakfasts and lunches for our patients and their relatives, as well as staff and customers too. She was also responsible for ordering stock, cleaning and food hygiene checks.
Since the pandemic Jayne has taken on extra duties including planning all our menus to meet the differing needs of all our patients and staff, which has been largely affected by the reduction in services being provided, the changing visiting arrangements for patients’ families and staff being advised to work from home where possible. She has also taken on extra stock ordering and paperwork, as well as trying to keep our small team motivated whilst remaining socially distanced. Jayne reflects that “this has been particularly challenging, as we are based in a relatively small area and are used to working closely together, it is almost second nature to provide a comforting arm around the shoulder when one of our team is having a tough day, so reminding people to keep apart has needed us to forge whole new working practise and break our old habits.”
As with many of the wonderful workforce here at St Andrew’s Hospice, the aspect of her role that Jayne finds most rewarding is interacting with patients and their relatives. Seeing each other on a daily basis whilst in our care, Jayne gets to know our patients and their families well, offering a friendly face and a chat when she sees them in the units or when they visit the café, which helps to provide comfort and a sense of normality for patients and their visitors. Jayne says “it also helps us to cater to the special dietary needs of anyone visiting St Andrew’s Hospice, as once we are aware we can make sure that these needs are met whenever that person visits. I’m looking forward to being able to interact with patients and their relatives in this way, once the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted enough to allow this to happen safely. I do really miss this aspect of my role.”
Jayne has recently experienced the services provided by St Andrew’s Hospice first-hand, having lost her mother to a Covid related illness, as an inpatient at the Hospice. Reflecting on this time and how it has impacted on her, she says “I’ve certainly learned more about the day-to-day running of the hospice and the care given to patients and relatives during a difficult time, by all the hospice staff including the bereavement team. I can’t praise them enough for the care and dedication they showed to my mother who sadly passed away here in the hospice.
It was a very difficult time for me coping with my bereavement and worrying about my work colleagues carrying on without me. It was also difficult for the nursing team as it was their first Covid case but it gave them a better understanding on all the special care and PPE requirements needed to look after Covid positive patients.”
When the hospice became aware of aware of Jayne’s mum’s illness and her preference to spend time in a peaceful environment, our adult inpatient unit worked closely with the local hospital to help ensure that the family could have their wish, and she was admitted to the care of the hospice.
Having the privacy of her own bedroom, and the flexibility that as a hospice, St Andrew’s is able to offer with visiting, even at this unprecedented time, means that Jayne was able to spend quality time with her mum in her final days. Jayne remembers “the peace we were provided with was really important to us as a family. Other than when mum was actively being tended to by the medical team, we were given the privacy and space we needed together as a family to prepare for all possibilities, and say the things we needed to say, with no noise or hustle and bustle to distract from these moments.”
Jayne has now returned to work at the hospice and we are so grateful to have her back. We would like to thank Jayne for her dedication when working through the most difficult of times imaginable. This selfless commitment means that others will benefit from her friendly and welcoming nature, comforting our patients and their families during their time with us.