“Hello, my name is Sue, I’m one of the Senior Night Nurses here on the wards at St Catherine’s . There’s lots happening with the coronavirus so I thought it would be nice to catch up and let you know how things are here at the hospice.
We have great support from our Senior Management Team, who have put lots in place to make sure we can still provide really high-level care and support for our patients, visitors and our staff. Everyone is being very well looked after here.
We’ve got our PPE. We’ve got the surgical masks and gloves and aprons, which we wear when we’re giving personal care on the wards and at someone’s bedside. Our patients are very vulnerable so it’s important that level of care is maintained to protect them and by wearing PPE, we’re also protecting ourselves as well.
Understandably, there are some challenges with the necessary adaptations for the coronavirus but we all understand why we’ve had to make them. One of the things I find quite difficult is when we wear our masks on the wards, as we approach someone, they can’t see our smile. The mask takes it away. Wanting to give someone warmth and comfort is integral to hospice nursing and some of that is hidden at the moment behind a mask, so I try extra hard to get communication and comfort across to people even if my face is covered.
I also work hard to make sure communication is maintained with the people I’m looking after so that they feel comfortable, and understand and hear what I’m explaining to them.
Our visitors have had to have some restrictions and that’s been quite difficult for some of our patients as we don’t usually restrict visiting in any form, but we’ve adapted to make sure we can safely accommodate limited visitors. I’m proud of that as some other places have had to shut their doors completely. We didn’t want to do that as we know how much comfort familiar visitors bring to people staying at the hospice. It’s an emotional time so we make sure we support people when they’re here so they feel safe visiting their loved one and the hospice. We offer screening to check their temperature, and when someone is coming towards the end of their life, we’re making sure at least some people can be at the bedside of the person they love. That’s such a precious moment and it’s of paramount importance that we support people to be present at that time, if they wish to be here.
We’re staying very positive here too. We’re still here for people who need our care like we’ve always been. That’s something I really want to stress to people – we are here. We’re here for people in the hospice and in their homes in the community. We’re also extremely grateful and appreciative of all the support we’re receiving. It means so much to us particularly at this time of great change.”