St Clare Hospice continues supporting locals throughout COVID-19

Charity / Thu 11th Jun 2020 at 09:13am

St Clare Hospice continues supporting locals throughout COVID-19

IT has been 10 weeks since the UK went into ‘lockdown’ and since then West Essex and East Hertfordshire charity, St Clare Hospice, has pulled out all the stops to diversify its services and continue supporting local people through living with a life-limiting illness, the end of life and bereavement.

In response to changing community needs since COVID-19 hit the nation, the Hastingwood-based charity has addressed several urgent needs locally, in addition to continuing to provide vital, round-the-clock care on its Inpatient Unit and through its Hospice at Home and Community Palliative Care services.

Since 23rd March 2020, St Clare Hospice has taken steps by: diversifying its Compassionate Neighbours project to continue supporting local people who are socially isolated, and reaching new people who may be vulnerable due to shielding throughout the pandemic; adapting its Day Therapy services and creating new supportive, wellbeing videos for the public; sharing a comprehensive guide around practicalities that must be considered after a death during the coronavirus pandemic in light of new government guidance; launching a series of new ‘Remembering Together’ virtual memorial services for bereaved people; helping other local organisations to build resilience by offering support sessions via video conference to care home staff, training school staff around how to support bereaved pupils, and supporting community workers such as faith leaders and lay ministers on how to support local people throughout lockdown; and diversifying their successful Bereavement Café project and taking it online to help connect local people experiencing grief and loss.

“Since the UK lockdown began, we have done everything in our power to diversify and develop our care services to continue meeting the needs of local people throughout the pandemic,” says Carolanne Brannan, Director of Patient Care at St Clare Hospice.

“Our number one priority is to listen to the community throughout our catchment area of West Essex and East Hertfordshire, whilst working with the NHS to help deliver services that are responsive and effective for those who need us locally. Recognising changing needs – such as an increase in loneliness and bereavement, or changing government guidelines – has enabled us to respond quickly and safely. And we’ve made some incredible progress,” Carolanne explains, “all thanks to our dedicated teams at the Hospice.

“Our varied hospice teams have pulled together to work collaboratively on new projects to help people navigate these very unsettling times – working together from various locations, whether working from home, at the Hospice or in the community. I’ve have been blown away by the courage and commitment that our staff have shown over the past few months. It’s been inspiring – truly.”

You can read about the experiences of St Clare Hospice’s workforce and what it’s been like battling COVID-19 on the front line from a variety of perspectives at stclarehospice.org.uk/blog

“The partnerships we have built with other local organisations over the years, and more recently, have played an important part in our mission to fight the pandemic, and its many repercussions, on a local scale,” adds Carolanne. “Whether it’s supporting our fellow keyworkers on an emotional level, or by providing relevant training and education, we’ve formed a ‘united front’ to encourage resilience amongst local people and workers.”

Carolanne adds, “The support we’ve received from local people has been critical during this time, too. Hundreds of people have reached out, either to help deliver services as volunteers, or to donate vital PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) or funds to help sustain us as we tackle gaps in our fundraising income. But that’s why we’re here; we’re a charity for local people, run and funded by local people; it’s really special. Thank you to everyone who has supported St Clare Hospice in the past and more recently. We will always do everything we can to continue to respond and deliver, just like we have done for the past 30 years, and will continue to do so for the next 30.”

You can stay up to date with St Clare Hospice’s recent service developments in the face of coronavirus at stclarehospice.org.uk/news

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