Suzanne is a Senior Care Assistant and Day Care Coordinator at Shooting Star House, our hospice in Hampton. Having worked in a school and then her local supermarket, Suzanne says she finally found her calling when she joined Shooting Star Chase in 2005.
“I had no previous experience of working in a hospice but when I started my role at Shooting Star Chase I knew straight away I’d found the place for me. I couldn’t think why I hadn’t tried a job in care before. I’ve been here for ten years and I still absolutely love what I do.”
Suzanne works in day care – a Shooting Star Chase service which enables parents to have some time to themselves by leaving their child at our hospices for a few hours. Day care is available at both Shooting Star House and Christopher’s on Mondays to Thursdays from 9.30am to 4.30pm.
“Day care is similar to a preschool setting and we’re governed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). We follow the Early Years Foundation programme with monthly or six weekly topics such as farm animals or food and we incorporate a trip where we can – whether that’s to a local urban farm or just to the supermarket to buy ingredients.
“When we were doing our transport topic one of our supported mums told us her son was fascinated by buses but she had never taken him on one. This is such a normal everyday thing but can be so hard for families to achieve because they may have other children, a wheelchair and medical equipment to consider. One of our trips was a bus journey to Kingston and back, which the child loved and mum was really happy about!
“Each child has a scrap book containing their art work, photos and achievements in day care and everything we do is made accessible to the wide range of children we are caring for and their various needs. We use a lot of Makaton, sensory play, Picture Exchange Communication System and visual timetables – and my colleagues in the therapy team help us with physiotherapy, occupational therapy, hydrotherapy and music therapy.”
With support from the quality and practice education team at Shooting Star Chase, Shooting Star Chase staff develop their skills and experience with training while at the charity.
“I’ve learnt so much since joining Shooting Star Chase. I’ve gained an NVQ Level 4 in paediatric care and have completed competencies for things like gastrostomy feeding and tracheostomy care. I’m also the only senior care assistant who has been trained to give medications. Each day I learn and that’s what keeps my role interesting.”
Shooting Star Chase nurses and carers all describe the unique bond they develop with the hospice’s supported children and their families is extra special, as Suzanne explains:
“I always say to our families that it’s hard leaving a well-child in someone else’s care so it must be harder with a child who has complex needs. Once that bridge is crossed though, the relationship between day care staff and the families is amazing and just continues to grow. They trust me and my colleagues implicitly and they know the care needs of their child are our absolute priority.
“I cannot express how much of an honour and a privilege it is doing the job I do. I feel humbled walking side by side with these families and sharing their journey with them. I am very proud of what I do and I can truly say that I love working at Shooting Star House.”
Want to be part of the Shooting Star Chase team? Take a look at our current vacancies.