McMillan Caring Service In Line For Top Award

A WOMAN who helps people with terminal illnesses remain at home for as long as possible is in line for a top national award.

Liz Allen is the co-ordinator at Macmillan Palliative Carers’ Support Service, which is based at St Leonard’s Hospice in Tadcaster Road, York.

Now she and her team of health care assistants have been short-listed in the development category of the International Journal of Palliative Nursing Awards, which will be held in London next month.

Mrs Allen explained that she and her team provide support for patients with terminal illnesses like cancer and motor neurone disease in the last stage of their lives.

They help with all aspects of a person’s life, including helping with cooking or dressing.

But they also provide support to the person’s family, perhaps allowing them to get a good night’s sleep or just pop out for a coffee so they can recharge their own batteries.

About being nominated, Mrs Allen said: “We’re absolutely delighted. It’s so nice to be recognised and for people to realise what we do and it also highlights the need for this sort of service. The whole team is absolutely thrilled to bits.”

Mrs Allen is already an award winner, having been named The Press’s Person Of The Year at the York Community Pride Awards 2007, for her work with Macmillan Palliative Carers Support Service.

Currently the team comprises three full-time members and five part-time members, along with others working as and when needed. Between them they care for 27 people in the York and Selby area.

The service was started in 2004 and since then it has allowed about 600 people to remain in their own homes or to wait for a place in a hospice, rather than having to go into hospital during the last few days of their lives.

Before 2004 those with terminal illnesses often found they had to leave the comfort of familiar surroundings.

But Mrs Allen helped set the home care service up from scratch, completing an audit to find out exactly what people with terminal illnesses and their families and carers needed.

The awards ceremony will take place on March 7, at a black-tie ceremony at the Café Royal in London.