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Providing care on the frontline

Simone Andrews is a Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner – Development on our wards. Here she shares what it’s been like caring for people through the pandemic.

“The hospice and all our staff have been fantastic throughout COVID-19, and we’ve continued to provide excellent care to patients and their families, just in a different way to the NHS.

On the ward here at St Catherine’s, the biggest and hardest change and challenge has been having to implement visiting restrictions. We’ve always offered visiting any time day or night to families and loved ones, and usually, we had no time limit on how long they could stay for. To tell someone staying with us that they can only have six people on their visiting list, and that people can only visit between the hours of 10-6pm for one hour at a time has been very difficult. We’ve made exceptions to this for when people are less well and have been very flexible, but it’s still hard to tell a daughter that she needs to wear full PPE to go and visit her Mum – It’s heart-breaking.

As nurses, the main thing we’ve had to adapt to when providing care is wearing masks. Throughout the first peak when there was all the government changes, this meant daily updates on what we should or shouldn’t be doing when providing care, and this was a very stressful time but now we’re through that first, initial period, things seem more settled, and we’ve become more used to wearing our masks. With a potential new peak after Christmas seeming more likely, it makes me think that we will have to go through more changes and updates again, but after so many months of the pandemic now, I feel like we’re more ready for this and more prepared.

I’m so proud of the team and how we’ve all worked well together and supported each other through these times. I’ve become closer to some of my colleagues throughout all this as they’ve been my ‘COVID family’ when I couldn’t see my own.

My mum is in a vulnerable category and because my dad fell into the nearly older age group, earlier this year, I told them both to shield. As best as I could, I’ve tried to stay away from them as I don’t want to chance giving them anything. I’ve been doing their weekly shop and dropping it at their door, and spending some time socially distanced in the garden, but we’ve been doing lots of video calls and things as it’s been really hard to not see them.”

If you would like to make a donation so Simone and her colleagues can continue to provide vital care and support to people in your community please click here or call 01293 447361.

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