This week is Hospice Care week . It’s organised by Hospice UK and highlights the importance of hospices and the care they provide to people with cancer and other life limiting illnesses.
As we celebrate the exceptional work of City Hospice during Hospice Care week we meet Kath who is a Palliative Care Clinical Nurse Specialist and team leader at City Hospice.
Since March 2020 we have seen a significant amount of change due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the way we work has been adapted.
Kath tells us what’s it’s been like at City Hospice during the pandemic as we celebrate Hospice Care Week:
“In the beginning we all knew the Covid19 pandemic was coming from watching the news and there was a lot of fear at this time. We started making plans in readiness for when the pandemic would start to affect us and how we worked.
We were concerned for our own loved ones and also had serious concerns for our patients and how the pandemic could affect them, especially those who were particularly vulnerable.
Daily Covid meetings with the Senior Management Team and Senior members of the clinical team took place. The purpose of this was to ensure everyone was kept up to date daily with the changes from Public Health wales and The Welsh Government. We also provided as much information to our patients via our new section on our website Coronavirus News & Advice.
Things were changing rapidly and this gave us the opportunity to ensure everyone was up to date. It meant we could structure our day to ensure we were best placed to support our patients, in line with the guidance.
This continues to be a very scary time. We have adapted to ensure we were there for our patients when they need us, whilst also ensuring we keep ourselves safe. Occasionally telephone consultations and digital assessments are appropriate however, we actively remain visiting patients at home in the community. This involves caring for very sick patients and also sometimes those positive with Covid.
One of the hardest things is not being able to hold a hand or hug a relative.
Our patients are advised that we will be in full PPE so we arrive at their homes looking very different to usual. Our uniforms changed to scrubs, we have full PPE including masks and visors. There are many times that I find this time extremely difficult as my facial expressions can’t be seen . This is particularly hard when breaking bad news. I know I speak for the team in saying how hard we find it not being able to hold a patients hand or hug a grieving relative.
However , we are still able to deliver the highest standard of care and be there for our patients and families at this extremely difficult time. This is such a hard time for families at any time but during the pandemic coping with terminal illness and bereavement is even harder than usual. I am proud and feel privileged to be a nurse and to be there when I am needed most. I know my colleagues feel the same”.
Tracey Milner sadly lost her sister, Debra Churchill, during the Covid19 pandemic and told us
“ I couldn’t have wished for any better team that the staff at City Hospice during the pandemic. Despite the restrictions that were imposed , their own personal fears, they still delivered superb care to my sister along with many other cancer patients.
As a family we received reassurance and compassion. I cannot stress my gratitude enough that both myself and my family have for the team for the way they looked after my sister and communicated with us. A big thank you from us all” Tracy, Tash and Kirsty