On 3 July 2023, Anke Bohn will step down from her post as the Operational Lead of ellenor’s Adult Hospice at Home team.
But it’s not to pursue a role with another organisation. And, while family is at the heart of her decision, she’s not retiring – or even leaving the palliative and end-of-life care sector.
Instead, Anke will depart her leadership role to enter a nursing role on our ward. To say it’s a ‘new’ role isn’t quite accurate, either – because to Anke, it’s a one that’s intimately familiar.
Anke has, after all, been a nurse for 45 years – with over 20 of those in the palliative and end-of-life care sector. What’s more, she always wanted to be a nurse – ever since, at the age of 9, she was hospitalised for two weeks, and ended up befriending (and assisting) the nurses on the ward.
So her new duties, which will involve providing hands-on, holistic care and support for ellenor’s inpatient ward’s life-limited patients, aren’t simply a part of her position – but her passion.
In the leadership role she’s stepping down from, Anke has been coordinating the care of around 350 patients with a range of life-limiting conditions. And overseeing ellenor’s teams responsible for supporting the staff who, collectively, support around 400 more patients throughout Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley care homes.
Now, Anke’s caseload will consist only of the inpatient ward’s eight beds. Yet what Anke swaps in terms of the quantity of patients under her watch, she’ll gain, on the ward, in quality care – going back to her roots to provide a more personal approach.
“I’m ready to get back, not to basics, per se – but to bedside care,” Anke says. “I love working on the ward – it’s so rewarding, because you get to see patients all the time. In a community-based care role – particularly a management one – you speak to patients a lot on the phone. But you don’t always get that face-to-face interaction; that one-on-one time that’s so integral to good patient care.
“On a ward, you can actually nurse a patient directly: administering medication, fitting syringe drivers, and alleviating the patient’s symptoms. You can talk to them, and their families; and be with the patient when they’re dying.
Of course, our ethos of holistic care – which sees the individual, and everything they are, rather than simply the patient or the illness – means Anke won’t simply be seeing to each patient’s clinical needs. But working with ellenor’s wider teams to support the patient’s unique psychological, emotional, social, spiritual – and even financial – needs. As well as those of their loved ones.