WITH more than two decades of experience in the care industry, Anne Haygarth has all the qualities that make a Hospice Angel.

Having worked for 20 years as a district nurse and with the Hospice at Home team for the past seven, the 53-year-old knows that it takes a special kind of person to work with those nearing the end of their life.

"It's end of life care and holistic care," said Sister Haygarth, from Docker Park, near Arkholme. "It's taking in the whole person.

"It takes a lot of compassion and a lot of professionalism. It's a difficult job and it's a highly emotional job."

Having worked as a district nurse, Sister Haygarth is used to providing care for those in the last stages of their life.

However, it is still essential for her that she has a good support network in place. Fortunately, this is something that St John's provides for its Hospice at Home staff.

"Our nurses are doing this day in, day out," she said. "Our nurses have to be quite strong, professional and knowledgeable."

Staff are able to access bereavement counsellors and there is always someone available to talk to.

Although it can be emotionally taxing at times, Sister Haygarth said that end of life care had always been something that she had enjoyed.

"It's the fact you can treat the patient holistically and you can treat them as a whole," she said. "I think a lot of people find end of life care quite satisfying.

"I think it does affect you on an emotional level but for myself it's about maintaining my professionalism while being empathetic.

"The hospice is focused on palliative care. It should be at the forefront of symptom management and it's a specialist skill. It's one that is very much part of that community."

To donate to the Hospice Angels campaign, please print off and complete the coupon above (MAKE YOUR CHEQUES PAYABLE TO 'HOSPICE ANGELS')or go to www.sjhospice.org.uk/hospiceangels to donate online.

If you or your family has been helped by a Hospice at Home nurse and would like to share your story, please contact Sara Royle on 01539 790260 or email sara.royle@nqnw.co.uk