As some hospices warn of the financial consequences to them from the coronavirus pandemic, Liz Andrews, CEO of City Hospice, explains what is happening to this valuable end of life service and why it is so important to Welsh communities…
These are difficult times for businesses and organisations across all industries; these are uncertain times for everyone.
Those of us in the third sector, charities and non-profit organisations, are experiencing a tough financial hit in particular, with the postponement of upcoming fundraising events and the closure of our shops, our primary sources of funding.
As upsetting as it is to not engage with our fundraisers, we must remember that we are doing our part to reduce the spread of this horrible disease and keeping our supporters across Cardiff healthy. The safety of our supporters, volunteers, staff and customers and protecting their health is of the utmost importance. Although fundraising events, retail and some outpatient activities are postponed, they can and will return in the future.
The most important priority for hospices during this unprecedented time is to adapt their practices to continue to provide exceptional palliative care to people living with life limiting and terminal illnesses.
At City Hospice, we care for and support 550 patients and their families throughout Cardiff. Perhaps unique from many hospices, our ethos is to allow patients to receive palliative care at home. The majority choose to remain in the comfort of their own home, making the most of spending time with loved ones and cherishing every moment, from the big celebrations of birthdays and anniversaries to the simple routines of everyday life.
It is a privilege to support our patients and their families in communities across the Welsh capital.
Providing hospice services within a patient’s home reduces the likelihood of our patients, who are among the most vulnerable in this pandemic, visiting hospital. We’ve adopted video calling technology and phone patients, a familiar practice for those of us now working remotely, to keep in contact and offer support such as remote counselling. However, many patients still require face-to-face care.
Our multi-disciplinary team are at the forefront of hospice care in the community.
Consisting of doctors, clinical nurse specialists, counsellors, occupational therapists, social workers, welfare rights officers and other clinical staff, our team continue their essential work visiting patients and families in the capital. Taking every precaution necessary and in line with official guidance, our staff wear masks, aprons and gloves for all patient visits.
In a time of heightened health anxiety, especially for those with existing conditions and illnesses, the team maintain their professional and compassionate palliative care, offering comfort and familiarity. We need to ensure our patients’ quality of life is a priority, to maintain the level of care we would provide without a global pandemic so they can enjoy time with their loved ones and not feel isolated because of their illness. Our incredible staff, like all healthcare professionals, feel anxious too as they work against this unpredictable, new disease, but continue to provide the essential care and support our patients deserve.
Although the shortfalls in our funding streams have placed a strain on our operating costs, along with hospices across the country we continue to be at the frontline of care.
Thank you to the community of Cardiff
It has been heart-warming to see, in recent weeks, the outpouring of gratitude from the public and acts of kindness from businesses, who have been impacted themselves by the economic situation, for our incredibly dedicated healthcare professionals in hospices, hospitals and in the community. From kind words to clapping and cheering from the doorsteps of homes across Cardiff and beyond, these small gestures have encouraged key workers, like our extraordinary team, that their vital work does not go unnoticed. At City Hospice, our supporters have generously donated online, including to our Donate A Day campaign which funds a day of nursing care. It is reassuring to feel the charitable goodwill and support for our professionals as they carry on caring for the most vulnerable in society.