Celebrating Hospice Care Week 2023

Monday 9 to Sunday 15 October is Hospice Care Week, a week which celebrates those who work in hospice care to ensure that everyone can benefit from the very best end of life care.

This year, we look to celebrate our staff who provide the all too important care to patients and their loved ones within the Wigan Borough.

We asked some of our team across the Hospice about their experiences working in hospice care. Here are their stories.

Dr Anna Murray, Medical Director

“People will often look surprised when I tell them that I’m a doctor in a hospice. They can’t imagine why I would choose to do a job which they associate with death and dying.

I’m happy to explain to them what I do. I’m happy to talk about death and dying, but I’m equally as happy to talk about how we help people to live as well.”

Read Anna’s article on palliative care here.


Dee Williams, Clinical Lead – Community and Wellbeing

“I’ve worked as a nurse for thirty-seven years and in hospice care for fifteen years. What most people do not realise is that palliative care is a part of general nursing, this is something I did not realise until I started working in hospices.”

“Everyone thinks working at the hospice will be sad but it’s actually the opposite, it’s about supporting people to live life to the fullest. Our teams help people to feel better so they can live the best life possible.”

“We work as part of the wider healthcare team to ensure the right care by the right professional at the right time to meet people’s needs.”

“If you are in need of care, please ask your GP to refer you so we can arrange the help and support you need.”

What advice would you give to those looking to work in a hospice?

“I would say definitely go for it; it will enrich your life as well as the people you look after. I think it helps you develop skills that are so transferrable to every aspect of life, including communication and working collaboratively with others in different services.”

“This job really helps you to appreciate how wonderful life is, and how lucky we are. You get to walk alongside people and support them through the most difficult times which is so valuable and rewarding.”


Lindsey Caplan, Counsellor

“I’ve been a counsellor for years, and I was delighted to start working at the hospice. It is one of the most rewarding positions I’ve ever held. It’s a privilege to support patients, carers and the bereaved through one of the most challenging and scariest times of their lives.”

What is your favourite part of the role?

“I find it fulfilling to help people navigate their way through their grief and to witness them gradually emerge from the rawness and pain whilst they learn how to embrace a new way of being without their loved one”.

“Part of my role is to hold space for someone, offering a safe space where they can express their thoughts and know they will be heard. Here, they can say whatever they want. As a counsellor, I can sit with somebody and be there for them in those sessions in a totally present and emotionally available way.”


Rachel Tilly, Volunteer Co-Ordinator

“It’s very humbling and grounding to work in hospice care. It makes you think about the families at the hospice and reminds you why you are doing what you are doing. I’ve never worked at a hospice before, but it’s not what people think it would be. It’s a very joyful environment but still respectful.”

“My favourite part of my role is the people, it’s matching people who want to help with the right roles. Especially helping to match the Hospice in Your Home volunteers, as they are going out and supporting patients in their homes and it makes a big difference to those patients and their loved ones to get that extra help.”

What would you say to those looking to volunteer in a hospice?

“I’d say that it is a positive environment, it isn’t always about the sad moments and you can make a difference to families at a very difficult time. To be part of a group of people who are a part of that is very rewarding.”


Jeanette Winstanley, Receptionist

“I recall an encounter with a man who accompanied his wife into the hospice; he had cared for her for many years. Initially, he seemed anxious and hesitant to relinquish his caregiving responsibilities. However, as time passed, he gradually became more at ease and started taking better care of himself, something that many caregivers tend to neglect.”

“One day, the man came to the reception with a broad smile after spending time with his wife in the hospice. He happily shared that his wife was having a good day, and he was planning to take her out for a picnic. I witnessed them leave the hospice hand in hand to spend a lovely day together, and upon their return, I felt proud to be part of a team that supported this couple, allowing them to create a beautiful memory. The man went from being a caregiver to a loving husband again, taking his wife on a date as he had hoped.”

What advice would you give to those looking to work in a hospice?

“If you’re looking for a career that will fill you with purpose and satisfaction, I encourage you to apply for an opportunity in hospice care. You’ll join a team of dedicated and caring professionals who work together to provide a warm and compassionate home for those in need.”


Anna Haslam, Community and Wellbeing Manager

“It’s been twenty years since I qualified as a nurse, and I went to work at a hospice as a newly qualified nurse.”

“I just always knew that I wanted to do palliative care. My uncle had a Macmillan nurse when he had a brain tumour when I was younger and seeing how much she helped him and our family made me want to go into palliative care.”

What advice would you give to those looking to work in a hospice?

“I’d say just do it. It’s a really nice, happy, caring environment. It’s a holistic approach to nursing so we look at the patient’s individual needs and focus on what is important to them. Wherever you work in the future, whether that’s A&E, Care Homes, medical or surgical wards, critical care, community or mental health you will always see patients with palliative care needs so it’s a good foundation for people to work in a hospice, you learn a lot of transferable skills and I consider it a privilege to work for Wigan & Leigh Hospice.”


Mark Spye, Quality and Governance Lead

“I’ve worked in health care for twenty-nine years, twenty-five of those was in the NHS.”

“I enjoy that my role helps to make things better. The job is so varied, and you don’t know what you go into every day and that is what makes it so exciting. You can’t always predict what is going to happen in governance, it’s about the human factor, what we do and why we do it etc.”

What advice would you give to those looking to work in a hospice?

“Coming into a small organisation like this you feel like you are treated like an individual, the impact of what you do feels greater to those you are servicing. The sense of job achievement no matter how small gives you a sense of achievement.”


Thank you to everyone who works in hospice care

“We are hospice care. We are nurses, doctors, social workers. We are volunteers, cleaners, therapists. We provide compassionate care for people at the end of their life, and support for those who are left behind. We are there when you need it most.” Hospice UK, 2023.

Learn more about Hospice Care Week here.