You know the saying behind every good man? Well behind the Hospice at Home West Cumbria (HHWC) clinical teams are three amazing women without whom we could not function.

Julie Armstrong, Michelle Pae and Louise Meckin from our clinical administration team, are our life support system and the glue that binds us all together and lockdown has only shown us how necessary they are to the day to day running of HHWC.

Shy and retiring in nature, they have finally agreed to come out of hiding and allow us to proclaim their worth and to thank them for all they do for us day after day.

For the past twelve weeks. Julie, Michelle and Louise have formed their own socially distanced ‘bubble’ and come into the office every day to answer the telephone for all HHWC services; support staff working from home; provide reassurance and consistency to patients and relatives and to signpost when required.

From 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, anyone who phones HHWC will never hear an answer phone or the words “please listen to the following options.” Instead they will speak to a professional woman, who will listen with kindness and compassion and direct them to the most appropriate member of staff.

The talents of these wonderful ladies never cease to amaze us. Julie, Michelle and Louise have an incredible ability to be able to answer any question, solve any problem and on the rare occasion they don’t know the answer, they know someone who will.

The administration team also support the Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) in Palliative care, from both East and West Cumbria and on behalf of the team Lesley Smith, CNS said, “Julie, Michelle and Louise are an invaluable asset to us. Their ability to triage telephone calls, to provide consistency for our patients and families is second to none. We are fortunate to work in close conjunction with HHWC and although our job is difficult, we are all able to support each other through stressful times. “

Lockdown has brought its challenges to the team. Julie, Michelle and Louise are the only office based staff from HHWC who have been unable to work from home. They have had to adapt to weekly changes in the hospital as well as face their own worries and fears about COVID-19 and ensure their school-age children are cared for. Michelle has also been our South Copeland delivery girl to provide nurses with PPE.

There have been advantages as well as challenges. Louise said it has been good to have a regular routine in this difficult time and Michelle has found work a welcome escape from Fortnite. Julie says that together they have formed a second family and provided support to each other. And all three are very grateful for the supply of cakes, fruit and chocolates from local businesses and HHWC supporters.

On behalf of all of us at HHWC and the Clinical Nurse Specialist team, we would like to thank Julie, Michelle and Louise for their support and friendship and for their dedication to HHWC.

If you have a clinical enquiry, please call the team on 01900 705200.