ADMISSION to the ward at Sobell House Hospice can be worrying for patients unfamiliar with its work.

For some it might be where they will spend their final days, though many receive symptom management before returning home or being referred elsewhere.

A friendly welcome can ease that sense of hesitance – a role happily filled by ward administrator Mohammed Abid.

His is often the first face people see when entering the ward, whether it is to show patients to a bed or advise friends and family on where to park.

Mr Abid, who has been working at Sobell for 10 months, said: "I'm the first person to see them in and know them by name.

"It [the ward reception] is an important focal point for everyone. I briefly explain what I do and where I am if they need any help.

"My job is to make sure they know."

The 36-year-old described the Headington hospice as 'a very special place', noting its provision of holistic care encompassing a range of services.

He said: "I'm a bridge in between different types of people at the hospice – doctors and nurses, social workers and clinical staff.

"It's good to have a multidisciplinary approach.

"I get to see how the hospice works and how care is provided to the patients during the last stages of their life."

Mr Abid's job covers everything from entering patients' details into the computer system, to helping families to fill in paperwork once someone has died.

He said: "Most of the families don't have a clue what to do [after someone dies], though some have experienced it before.

"If they are not prepared I give them time to think about it and go through the process to register what they need to do.

"Sometimes families want to see their loved ones in the mortuary before the funeral; I take them to do that."

Though witnessing people in their most vulnerable state can be tough, Mr Abid said the team worked hard to ensure they keep smiling.

He said: "I've never seen such delightful staff; people are always ready to help. All the patients and their families appreciate that.

"There can be a lot of distressing moments but you have to balance that with still needing to be approachable. This is an amazing place and there are amazing people."

He said some staff members on the ward wear pink on Fridays and take a break to play cricket outside, to ease the mental drain of a long week.