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We’re still here to support people when they need us

Dr Cathy Gleeson is a consultant caring for local people on our wards. As restrictions slowly start to ease, she wanted to share a few reflections of what it’s been like caring for people throughout this pandemic.

“I was asked how COVID has impacted on the care we offer local people at the hospice. And initially I thought about how difficult it’s been, and continues to be, to work from behind a mask, covered in a plastic apron and gloves.

It’s quieter at the hospice because we haven’t got so many people working at the hospice at the moment – they’re mainly at home – and there’s not such a hustle and bustle. We usually have lots of visitors coming and going; complementary therapists and other volunteers, external visitors, PAT [Pets As Therapy] dog, all that sort of thing, and we’ve had to cut back. But then I thought, actually that sounds a bit negative, because in so many ways, what we do has stayed the same.

We’re still admitting people from home, at times when they really need help, care and support. We’re allowing visitors, albeit in PPE for their safety, and in terms of what I do and what the nurses do, really our role is the same.

We’re still here to listen to people, to try and sort out problems, and to do the best we can as doctors and nurses, to support people when they need us.

And if I think about the concerns that patients currently have, really, they’re very similar to always. Sadly COVID-19 has added a complicating dimension for many patients and their families in terms of more worries and more tests, but the important things – like someone being comfortable, feeling secure and looked after, and working out how we can continue to support them and their family to the best we can, that all stays the same.

And so even if I feel strange at times, talking from behind a mask and worrying about whether people can hear me and realise that I’m doing my best to be empathic and caring, I know that they do feel that because they tell me.

Indeed, sometimes we manage to laugh about it all – I was talking to one gentleman, apologising for the strange kit we all had to wear and said that I hoped he could see from my eyes that I was smiling behind the mask – he laughed and winked at me in response.

I find these moments hugely reassuring and I hope you do too. We still want to do the best we can to make life as good as it can be for those who have limited time.

And it’s only really through the support and generous donations of all of you out there that we can still manage that.

So I’m hugely grateful that you support us to support others.”

To see Cathy talking about her work please click here

To make a donation to help Cathy and her colleagues continue to provide people with expert hospice care when it’s needed most please click here

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