• Name: Clarissa Penfold
  • Job title: Housekeeping Supervisor
  • Joined the team: 2002

How did you get into your role and come to work for Katharine House?

My daughter had started school and I was at college doing a beauty course and decided to apply for a part-time job. I started my job in the housekeeping team at Katharine House Hospice not long after, and I’ve now been here just over 20 years!

I was made to feel welcome from the moment I walked in, cheerful receptionist and the staff I met that day were very kind and helpful. I have worked with so many good staff over the years and been trained from the beginning and I am still learning.

What’s a typical day like?

None of my days are the same. But all my days will include cleaning, office work and seeing patients and relatives.

What do you wish people knew about hospice care?

Over the past two decades working in the hospice, I have seen that our staff have a speciality in palliative and end-of-life care, which has come with experience. Everyone is treated as an individual and cared for as an individual by all the staff.

When I had to deal with a family member at home who was diagnosed with a terminal disease and not under Katharine House care, I was suddenly in a different world. I had to deal with answerphones instead of people, no equipment, no social or care workers available or doctors or nurses. AlI I wanted was for families and patients at home to have the care I had always seen patients and families receive at Katharine House out in the community  not just my local area but all areas.

How does it feel to work for the hospice?

It makes me feel very proud. I enjoy working with the wide variety of companies that do so much for the hospice, such as Cleenol and Karcher, who we couldn’t be without. They have always had my team’s back 24/7, nothing is ever too much trouble in providing products and equipment over the years. I also enjoy being part of Horton Hospital's team as well. 

What makes Katharine House so special?


Now for some quick-fire questions…

If I had to sum up my role in one sentence, I’d say: I do a bit of everything and am always able to speak my mind.

The best thing about my job is: being flexible in my work. I like being able to leave the computer or stop cleaning even if it’s only for 10 minutes to sit with a patient and listen or reassure them until the medical team arrives. A patient does not always have minutes spare, whereas I do. Patients will always come first.

My proudest moment was: a patient saying it was worth waking up one more day to see my smile.

If I could go anywhere in the world, I’d go to: Vietnam.

My favourite dessert is: banana pancakes and ice cream.

My all-time greatest song is: Bad by Michael Jackson.

If I won the lottery, I would buy: an apartment in Egypt.

My idea of a perfect day is: happy staff and patients.

My favourite thing to eat is: Walkers crisps.

Without doubt, the best animals are: chihuahuas!

The best advice I’ve ever been given is: never let anyone take your smile from you.

My favourite way to unwind is: driving home in my car listening to music.

My go-to biscuit is: KitKat.

I’m currently listening to: the washing machine.

If I had one superpower, it would be: to be able to keep everything simple and positive.