Thursday, June 19, 2008

social work consultancy - irene nicholson

We were delighted Irene was able to visit India and offer consultancy with her skills in social work. You can read her reflections below. She was able to do an amazing amount in a few months supporting colleagues in CMC, as well as taking part as faculty for the Refresher Course in Trivandrum and attending the IAPC conference in Kochi. At this latter event she helped facilitate the first national network of palliative care social workers. (an important moment captured here) Many thanks to Irene for her enthusiasm, commitment, willingness to try anything once! and for sharing her skills and her self. I know her contribution was very much appreciated by the CMC team - and by Cairdeas. Irene will be sharing more of her experiences at our annual Cairdeas gathering this weekend in Aberdeen

'I am Head of family Support Services at Grove House Hospice in St. Albans. My background is in Social Work, counselling, and training.
I was fortunate to be able to have the opportunity to work alongside the Palliative Care team based at the Christian Medical College in Vellore and also with the newly opened hospice from January to March. I spent time with the Social Worker there, Ramu. (pictured with me and Aneeja, social worker from Trivandrum below) He introduced me to Palliative Care Social Work in India, and we were able to work together as Social Work colleagues, sharing our knowledge and information. Mondays was “our” day, we spent the time doing planned visits to patients and families within a thirty mile radius of the hospital. We would take local buses to out-lying villages, often walking across fields to reach the family home. As resourceful Social Workers, we would take water, our lunch, and hats to protect us from the fierce sun (30-35 degrees ) Much of Ramu’s work with families was assessing their income, encouraging children to attend school, and educating them about cancer and how to cope with the practicalities of the disease. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to work with Ramu, and we learnt so much from each other. We enjoyed each other’s company, and Ramu was keen to teach me the local Tamil language.

I also worked with the young staff team at the newly opened hospice at the Sneha Deepam campus, about four miles from Vellore where I stayed. This was a very rewarding experience, the team were keen to learn, and language was no barrier.

On a lighter note, I really enjoyed the food, mostly vegetarian (and always curry! ) It was also great to spend time with” Dr. Mhoira “, and to learn more about the dedicated work of this amazing team. My grateful thanks to Mhoira and Cairdeas for supporting and encouraging me in this very worthwhile venture.'

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Danielle said...
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