Real Lives

Kindness, skill and compassion till the end

Sarah-Jane Farrington (l) with colleague Sarah Bateman (r)
Sarah-Jane Farrington

We often hear about the term ‘values based recruitment’ and testament to this approach is hairdresser turned care worker, Sarah-Jane Farrington.

Despite having worked in hairdressing for 18 years, Sarah-Jane was no stranger to helping older people and recognising the signs of loneliness. Being a mobile hairdresser, she would often help elderly clients with shopping, lunch and medical emergencies, knowing that even the smallest gestures could make a big impact on someone’s day.

Her work also saw her working a day a week in a local care home, where together with hairdressing, Sarah-Jane would often find herself chatting and even singing with residents.

“I have always liked helping others,” says Sarah-Jane. “For the past three years, I have cooked Christmas lunch for 12 elderly people and taken it round to them with a pudding and crackers alongside my husband and daughter.”

When the recent coronavirus restrictions were imposed Sarah-Jane was no longer able to continue hairdressing, so when an opportunity came up to work as a care worker for local domiciliary care provider, Cross Care, she jumped at the chance.

Founded by Ruth Thorley and Katie Doyle, Shropshire based Cross Care was already well accustomed to taking on a range of care packages and ensuring right care worker was matched with the right client.

“A particular service user required round the clock palliative care and we were looking for that extra special person to work alongside us in providing him with waking night care,” said manager Katie.

“That’s when we found Sarah-Jane. She was a friend of a friend through Ruth, and the minute we heard about her and her qualities, we just knew she would be the right candidate for the role.”

Having cared for 7 family and friends with palliative care, Sarah-Jane, was not daunted by the prospect of the role, and after her training and induction period, she was soon out shadowing colleagues in the community.

“I quickly built up a bond with the gentleman and would spend up to 4 nights a week with him, said Sarah-Jane

“We enjoyed sharing stories over a cup of tea and he would tell me how he met his partner. He would often sit up through the night with me in the lounge and I would constantly be checking he had everything he needed and was comfortable. He was never in any pain, I always made sure of that.”

At the peak of the coronavirus lockdown the gentleman sadly passed away, with his partner, Sarah-Jane and manager Ruth present. However, despite the obvious emotions, Sarah-Jane knew her work wasn’t done.

Due to Covid-19 they we were asked by the GP via the phone to assist in verifying the death. As a final act of kindness, they also laid out the gentleman and contacted the funeral directors, thus alleviating pressure for his partner.

Supporting new starters with a hands on approach is something that is key to Cross Care’s philosophy of care.

Ruth said, “To me there is no greater privilege than to support someone during their final days and hours with us. The care we provided was nothing that we wouldn’t do for anyone else.”

What has been a challenging time globally has not deterred the team at Cross Care.

“This has only made us stronger, not only as a business but as colleagues, “ says Katie.

“We are proud of the hard work each one of our support workers does and we will continue to invest in our most valuable asset – our incredible staff.”


Edel Harris





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