• Name: Helen Lailey
  • Job title: Social Worker
  • Joined the team: June 2023

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

I’ve worked as a Social Worker, in various different teams over the last 25 years, but I’ve always been very keen on working at Katharine House. One of my friends, who works at Sobell House told me about this vacancy. I spent a day shadowing the previous Social Worker Nikki and I knew that I had to apply or I would regret it. 

What is a typical day like?

The day begins with a multi-disciplinary team meeting, We are aware of the needs of each person on the ward and the role that we all have that day. I meet both people staying on the ward and people attending the Living Well Day Centre. 

My role is often about looking at what support a person needs in the community. I’m actively involved in sourcing care packages or nursing home placements. I need to check that they have the optimum financial benefits and often apply for funding.  I work closely with the Family Support Worker and Occupational Therapist. Sometimes we do joint visits to people’s homes to plan their safe discharge back home, when that is their wish and that of their families. 

What do you wish people knew about hospice care?

That it is incredibly positive.  The medical team are phenomenal in managing people’s symptoms to enable them to live the best quality of life.  People that attend the ‘Living Well’ Day Care, tell me that it is the highlight in their week.  Today, a man told me “ the people here are so funny, I wish people knew how much fun coming here is”. 

What does it feel like to work for the hospice?

A genuine privilege.

What makes Katharine House so special?

The people that use it and the people that work for it.  All the staff, the Volunteers, the Fundraising Team, the Clinical Team and the Chaplaincy Team.  The spacious and homely environment. 

Quick fire questions….

If I had to sum up my role in one sentence, I’d say: Listening to the needs and wishes of the people with life-limiting illness that use our services and live in the community.

The best thing about my job is: It sounds. cheesy, but it’s the people here – the patients, volunteers and staff.

My idea of a perfect day is: watching my son play football, walking my dog with my friend Sarah and my Mum and then stopping at the local pub for a G&T. 

I never miss an episode of: Ted Lasso. I love the character Roy Kent and my favourite quote is when he said, ‘Don’t you dare settle for fine.’

If I could go anywhere in the world, I would go to: the Norwegian fjords. It’s definitely on my bucket list.

The best advice I’ve ever been given is: be grateful. Each day may not be good, but there is something good in each day.  

My go-to biscuit is: a good old ginger nut. Preferably dunked in coffee.

If I had one superpower, it would be: make chocolate and cake calorie free. 

My favourite season is: autumn. I love the colours and the leaves under my feet. It’s perfect dog-walking weather.

If I was stranded on a desert island, I would want: my pug Coco.

My favourite song of all time is: Afraid of Sunlight by Marillion. It’s a song about taking risks and not being stuck.

If I won the lottery, I would buy: a house in the Cotswolds.