This is an extraordinary time. As one of my colleagues said recently, 'we’ve managed more change in the past two weeks, than we normally would in five years.' And she's right. Amongst the pace of it all, I wanted to give you an insight into what life is like at St Peter’s Hospice at the moment, and how we’re managing to keep our care services going for patients and families.
We’ve had to face a frenetic series of challenges in a very short space of time. We’re adapting, reacting and changing the way we operate on a daily, sometimes even hourly basis. We are still operating our 15 bed Inpatient Unit, with new arrangements around the use of protective equipment, and visitors to patients. In the community, we’ve shifted from a geographical structure to a single consolidated team. We’re prioritising patients according to need, providing support through telephone and video conferencing, and visiting patients in their homes only when necessary. We’ve increased staffing for our 24/7 Advice Line to ensure that health professionals in the community such as paramedics, GPs, district nurses and care homes, have guaranteed access to expert end-of-life care advice.
As the NHS began preparing to face the challenge of COVID-19, we experienced a dramatic increase in patients being referred to us from hospitals and GPs. In the face of that increase, we had not been prioritised for testing or protective equipment. Our doctors, nurses and health care assistants have had to adapt. At the same time, we have had to cope with significant numbers of staff self-isolating in accordance with Government guidelines.
We’ve had to make some tough decisions too. We recently closed our 51 charity shops, and we’re working tirelessly to postpone, re-book and re-plan all of the fundraising events we had planned for this year. If you're waiting to hear from us about an event you've signed up to, please bear with us, we'll be in touch soon.
But most importantly, amongst all the change and all the chaos of the world, one thing will always remain the same and that’s our commitment to serving the needs of our patients and their families.
It’s tough, but we’ve got this. And it’s all made that little bit easier knowing that we have the support of you, our wonderful community. We’re going to need you in the coming weeks and months, and we know that you’ll be there for us, as you always are. And we promise to be here for you, now and in the future. Together we will get through this.