Eileen Gibson has been supporting patients and bereaved families at Woodlands Hospice for more than 20 years.
Eileen Gibson is a Qualified Counsellor who first joined Woodlands Hospice as a volunteer way back when the Hospice first opened in 1996. Eileen first worked as a volunteer receptionist; however, being a qualified counsellor, she also offered her services in this capacity voluntarily too. Eileen said,
“When the Hospice first opened, there wasn’t a vacancy for a counsellor as we were just a day-service for patients. Over the years, the Hospice has grown and the services we provided have expanded so now there is much more of a demand for my counselling service which led to me working as a counsellor for Woodlands.”
Eileen has appointments with both patients and their relatives – particularly those suffering with recent bereavement. Eileen has noticed a huge increase in the demand for those seeking counselling and puts this down to the way the Hospice has evolved as well as people’s perceptions of what counselling is.
“I think it is much more accepted now to seek counselling than it was a few years ago, which is down to mental health and overall well-being being discussed more openly and not being so taboo. However, the way in which the Hospice operates and the services we provide have also drastically changed over 20 years which has made a big difference. I now have the support of the wider Family Support Team, who will recommend my services to anyone who may be struggling with their emotions. Nurses and other staff members also refer people to me.”
Eileen is required to provide support to people in highly emotional states which can also be emotionally demanding for her. Eileen says she combats this by staying grounded and says peer group work also helps – particularly within her own Family Support Team. Eileen, who recently joined the Family Support Team when it was set up 3 years ago, said,
“It is incredible working with the other Family Support Team members as we can share the load and the team itself gels really well together which can make a big difference to the service we provide. I’m still human, and people’s stories can affect you but having the support of the wider team definitely helps.”
“I love my job and it never ceases to amaze me how resourceful and resilient people can be in the most difficult circumstances. It is a privilege to be able to work with people through their grief and have them open up to me and share their pain so that I can help them cope better in the future.”
Our Head of Family Support, Elaine Pugh commented, “Eileen is incredible at her job and has helped countless people come to terms with loss or bereavement over the years. She is such a valued and important member of our team and we’d be lost without her. Thank you to Eileen for all the support you’ve given to our patients over the years!”