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Bourne paramedic joins Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice thanks to new palliative care roles



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A former paramedic who took a career change to help people with end-of-life care wants to change the common perceptions of palliative care.

Jo Barlow, from Bourne, believes joining Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice from the East of England Ambulance Trust earlier this year was one of the best moves she has made.

“Working in emergency and acute care environments and seeing how palliative care was delivered made me realise palliative care was where I wanted to be,” she said.

Jo Barlow fulfilled her long-time wish to be involved in palliative care thanks to new roles at Sue Ryder
Jo Barlow fulfilled her long-time wish to be involved in palliative care thanks to new roles at Sue Ryder

“Sometimes I miss being out on the road but I have found my new home here at Sue Ryder.”

Jo, 37, has become the hospice’s discharge and admissions co-ordinator, and has seen first hand that many have the wrong idea about palliative care.

“People assume hospices are places you go to die, when actually they provide supportive care and symptom management and they help people to learn to live with their condition - not die with it," she explained.

"I think palliative care is all about supporting people to live. People automatically assume working in palliative care is going to be morbid, but I tell them we bring a lot of peace and comfort.”

Despite a long-time passion in the field, Jo faced barriers in finding a role traditionally directed towards nurses until Sue Ryder opened up new vacancies for paramedics.

“There have been so many skills and qualities I have been able to bring over," she said.

"We are used to doing holistic assessments, we have strong communications skills, and we are used to dealing with difficult situations.”

She added: “Joining Sue Ryder has lived up to my expectations of what I thought the role and care should be.

“It has been a really easy transition because of my passion and my desire to work in this area.”

The new palliative paramedic roles were created to ensure Sue Ryder can provide more care to more people.

“What I love most about working in palliative care is that we are able to give holistic patient-centred care," Jo said.

"I would not look back at the change I have made. It has been a brilliant move for me.”

Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice is recruiting, among other positions, for a Palliative Care Paramedic. Visit www.sueryder.org/palliativecareers for more details.



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