“THE staff and volunteers are what Prospect boils down to and what makes it different for me.”
Their warmth, enthusiasm and commitment is the cornerstone of the Wroughton charity according to chief executive Angela Jordan, who, although at the helm of the large operation, is keenly aware of her role as only one of many in the effort to bring hope to patients in their final moments.
“Prospect starts at the front door with this sense of calm and lightness and the warmth that comes from the people that meet you there,” said the mother-of-one.
“And those three things are everywhere in the organisation.”
Since she joined the charity nearly four years ago, nurses and consultants’ devotion has never ceased to amaze her.
“It is about people having the space to live every day, every week or every moment they have got,” said the 54-year-old.
“We work with the patients and their families to make sure they have the best experience possible. And I see so many things that make me proud.
“If a patient gets admitted to the in-patient unit, nurses come and meet them and often go in the ambulance to welcome them.
“I can’t think of anything more anxiety quelling. It’s that personal care that our nurses provide and our patients receive.
“A patient was once admitted for just six hours – an unusually short time. It was near Christmas and he commented on how beautifully dressed for Christmas the hospice was. He loved Christmas. So one of the nurses found a 3ft tree, unplugged it and put it in the line of sight of that gentleman.
“That was extraordinary. It just comes naturally to staff. They help people achieve what they want to in the time they have got.”
The nurse by training was appointed as the head of Prospect Hospice just as the demand for the organisation’s care began steadily growing, as did the amount of funds necessary to care for patients and their families.
The task has presented its share of difficulties but throughout her focus has remained solely on patients.
“Fundamentally my role is to make sure that everything we do here surrounds the patients and they families – all the decisions that we make, the money that we spend, has to sit around the care we provide.
“It’s their Prospect and when they have spent the first half day here, they realise that the place is theirs. It is about what they want and need.
“The chief executive makes sure a plan exists to make sure that all our compasses are pointed in the same direction to improve patient care.”
Strategising to secure the £4.3million needed to cover the cost of looking after 2,000 patients each year is only the tip of iceberg and her duties encompass all financial and humans aspects of the charity. One that often trumps everything else is her focus on staff and volunteers and their wellbeing as well as patients.
“Another bit of my job is to make sure that people who work at Prospect, both staff and volunteers are focused on enjoying themselves, particularly volunteers,” said Angela who worked for the NHS for 24 years before joining the National Osteoporosis Society in 2002.
“We want them to feel that their contribution is valuable.”
Looking to the future, the face of Prospect Hospice could significantly change as demand for its end-of-life care increases significantly in Swindon and beyond.
“What we understand from patients is for some of them it is important to be able to die at home. The expansion of our service would be in our care of people at home.
She added: “The number of people we think will want to be cared for by Prospect in future will grow quite considerably.
“If we think the number of patients is potentially going to outstrip us, we know we want to take our expertise and work with others who care for people who are dying like care homes and GPs.
“We already have a team at the Great Western Hospital.
“What we want to do more of is work with other people who provide end of life care to help them reach the best possible level of care that they can.”