A new year has begun, but the spectre of COVID-19 continues to loom larger than ever in our hospice, in our community and right across the country. Twelve months after the pandemic began to take hold, the context has changed. Exhaustion, fear and isolation have set in for many of us – and nowhere is this is more apparent than for the patients, their families and the clinical teams at St Margaret’s.
End of life care is about empathy, human emotion and connection; even though the environment we work in and the technology we use may have changed, these fundamental qualities remain. Throughout the pandemic, St Margaret’s has been at the forefront of providing guidance and coordinating end of life care across Somerset and beyond – working together with GPs, care homes and District Nurses to ensure that dying people get the care and support they need. All the while, they have worked under immensely difficult conditions to keep St Margaret’s own adviceline, In-patient Unit, bereavement and community nursing services running.
Services which are busier than they have ever been; at New Year, our 24 hour adviceline took more calls than it has taken in its 10 years of existence. Anxious and fearful families, carers and patients are relying on this lifeline – but so too are ambulance crews, District Nurses and GPs. Our bereavement team is supporting more families than ever as they cope with their grief and loss in isolation.
In spite of all the challenges, the St Margaret’s team have kept going, they’ve adapted the way they work and they’ve kept on delivering care. But they really need your support now, more than ever before. In the next few weeks we expect to see the peak of the COVID pandemic in our community, increasing the pressure on fragile staff and services.
End of life care can’t stop because of COVID. If you can, please show your support for your local hospice and the incredible team of doctors and nurses who bring comfort and care to dying people in our community with a donation that says ‘I stand with you at this time of crisis’.
At this difficult time, if you are able to support us please give what you can.