Donna, housekeeper

I didn't know anything about Willow Wood until my mum was admitted here from Christies. It was the same day that my dad had a heart operation at Wythenshawe Hospital. I had my own business then and it was so hard driving up and the motorway, working hard and visiting first my dad and then mum. It did make it easier being able to see mum at any time, there are no restrictions on visiting hours at Willow Wood.

The relief I felt on seeing mum here; I just can’t express it. She was calm and so cared for. The staff were wonderful, they gave her dignity back to her and were so empathetic. I could concentrate on being a daughter again, and just spend time with her in peace. It was so difficult trying to keep up with everything, Willow Wood was a Godsend to me, and I just can’t praise the staff enough, they don’t just care for the patients, they look after the whole family. You’re even allowed to bring pets in to visit, and having your dog on the bed for a cuddle can be a real comfort – pets are companions and really are a part of the family.

Eleven months later, to the day, I began work in the Hospice kitchens! I’d given up my business and although I was working part-time wanted something with a few more hours. The kitchen manager at the time, Bernice, did ask me if I’d be able to cope coming back here so soon after my mum, but I jumped at the chance – it wasn’t difficult for me at all. To be honest I take real comfort from being here. My mum was just so well looked after, so cared for – it meant everything to me.I couldn’t have worked at the hospital where I’d seen her in pain and distress, but coming here was like coming home.

That was 11 years ago, and I still love being here, although I did move over to Housekeeping about 5 years ago as the hours suited me better. I was so grateful to be given the opportunity as I’d never worked in this kind of role before, but it suits me and I’m part of a great team.

I’d just like to say that if you, or a relative is referred to Willow Wood don’t worry, or be scared, it really is a wonderful place and the staff are just incredible. You’ll get the best possible care; the staff have time to spend with you and treat you as an individual. I’m so glad my mum was able to be here.

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