A myriad of invaluable services come under the Facilities umbrella at ellenor -- everything from its fleet of vehicles to laundry and good nutrition.
Facilities Manager Dan Parzefall ensures all four departments run smoothly, with both staff and volunteers taking real pride in their tasks and responsibilities. Catering, Housekeeping, Facilities and Front of House are all vital to the running of the organisation.
Dan says: “I’m so proud of the team – working relentlessly behind the scenes to ensure everything is safe and clean. It’s all about one body, looking after people, helping and serving.”
We are particularly proud of its catering department, which was recently awarded the top level five rating by food safety and hygiene inspectors – for the tenth year running.
Dan says: “We make sure we provide the best service and ensure everything is cooked safely and that we serve the highest quality food to patients, staff and relatives. Everything you would expect when you walk into a shop or café is in place, and we have very high standards. Good nutrition is fundamental.
“When patients come to us, they are often adjusting to a new place and when they are coming to the end of their life, we can talk to them and understand what they may think will interest them from a culinary perspective. We can often find though close conversations, favourite foods or perhaps a particular food they haven’t had for a long time, or since they were children. It is nice to have the chance to cook something that can provoke happy thoughts from the past. Food can be very helpful with this.
“Our kitchen staff all have that human touch. You can teach anyone to cook but you can’t teach a chef to care or to show empathy.”
Staff in the Housekeeping department also have a caring nature, which has been demonstrated admirably during the challenges of Covid.
Dan says: “This department is paramount to everything working and being safe. It’s not just someone going round with a vacuum – it’s everything from deep cleaning rooms to doing patients’ personal laundry, offices and all those hidden nooks and crannies. During Covid everything has stepped up a notch further, with things like doorknobs and phones sanitised twice a day.
“Like nurses, the housekeepers go into people’s rooms and work around the patients. They wear PPE like a nurse. During the summer of 2020, the temperatures reached 34-35 degrees and they didn’t even complain.”
All four departments under Facilities have had also had to adjust to the restrictions brought about by the pandemic.
Dan says: “Our maintenance sub department is a one stop shop for anything that needs to be replaced or repaired, that includes in the main hospice building, the shops, offices and our vehicles. Everything must be kept in good working order – even when it is not being used, for instance while the shops have been closed.”
Also, under the Facilities umbrella is Front of House. Before the pandemic, this area had been revamped, with the formality of the reception desk abolished. Instead, volunteers were trained to act as hosts, meeting and greeting visitors and taking them to their port of call within the hospice. The same volunteers would also help run the café.