Busting the myths on hospice care

Sandra Galton, Head Chef at Sue Ryder St John's Hospice.

Sandra Galton, Head Chef at Sue Ryder St John's Hospice. - Credit: SUE RYDER

Chef Sandra Galton aged 56 from Biggleswade joined Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice two months ago, after previously working as a kitchen manager in a children’s nursery. She has also worked in  pubs and a school and run a café.

Here, she shares her experience of what it’s like to work in palliative care in the hope of busting  some myths on what hospices are and what they do.

“I knew all about Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice before I joined here,” she says.

“My mum received care from St John’s Palliative Care Hub and the support from them was just fantastic.”

“I really enjoy working here at the hospice. There is real companionship among all the staff here. Sue Ryder has a real family feel to it.”

“What I have found working in a hospice is that there is always loads of support. There are always people walking past the kitchen door, asking if you’re alright. It is a really happy place.”

“I think the word hospice does frighten a lot of people but until they have used one or have had personal contact with one I don’t think they truly realise the extent of what they do and the lengths they go to in caring for people.”

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“I want people to know that hospices are comfortable, reassuring and happy places”

Sandra says one of the best things about working at the hospice is the challenge of meeting so many different dietary requirements.

“I really enjoy catering for our patient’s different dietary requirements. The food preparation is the same as the previous catering roles I have had and we do everything we can to make sure everyone is satisfied.

“But what I really love is that we serve people more individually here – what we make at the hospice is not mass produced. It is homemade and we’re attending to people’s individual needs, which is a really nice thing to be able to do.”

Sandra shares what’s proving popular on the patient menu too.

“The most requested foods are traditional comfort foods – like sausage casserole, soup or fish pie. I love cooking cakes and bakes too. My favourites are a nut loaf and a date and oat slice and the feedback is our patients enjoy them.”

“We have an orchard and vegetable patch here at the hospice too and the apples and pears are really lovely. We’ve been using the apples to make apple strudel for our patients and this has proved popular too.”

Sandra hopes by sharing her experience she can bust myths on what hospices are so people are less frightened of them.

“I love feeding our patients and when we create something they like it's a great feeling. Hospice's are not frightening places, they are here to help families at a time they really need it and I love being part of the team helping to make the hospice a home from home for them.”