There is no typical day in a hospice

Sharon Allen, CEO of Arthur Rank Hospice Charity describes what she’s learning about partnership working in social care as a result of Covid-19  

A cliché and also true, since the pandemic hit, there is no typical day! 

Days are full of Teams and Zoom meetings. They are no substitute for being with people, the human touch and interaction is such an important part of what hospices offer – we’re missing it greatly.

Compared to what lots of people are having to deal with, I consider myself fortunate. No-one close to me has been ill or died from coronavirus. Not seeing family and friends has been tough: I miss them. I miss my exercise classes, going to gigs, so many things. These are small sacrifices though, compared to what many have faced. It has made me reflect on what really matters and remember to tell people that I love them.

Accessing PPE was difficult when the pandemic first hit and everyone was struggling. We have had amazing support from our community, making and donating scrubs, masks and visors. After a few weeks, our CCG sorted ordering through NHS supplies and Hospice UK also co-ordinate regional drops, so to be honest, for the past few months, we have been ok with PPE.  

As a team, we’ve become very close, talking about difficult issues – for example, having to restrict visiting, which is so alien to the hospice culture. Colleagues have been amazing, flexing and adapting, always providing the best service. Day Therapy has gone virtual; our Community Nurse Specialists are doing most of their work by video or phone, all of this whilst an exciting big expansion gets underway.  We’re working in partnership with the Cambridgeshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and other partners - our Hospice at Home service. We’re busy recruiting and it’s exciting to hear people talk about why they want to become part of #TeamArthur. Even more exciting to know we will be able to support many more people who want to be cared for at the end of their life in their own home, surrounded by those they love.

The ability to make quick decisions, to remove layers of bureaucracy, to work collaboratively, have all been great benefits which we must hold on to. The recognition of what social care provides - and the wonderful people who work in social care - must also be sustained and turned into a different way of working across social care and health. The partnership approach that has been talked of for so long, must become the reality with the appropriate level of resourcing.


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