24 April 2020

Adapting to the crisis

Our nursing teams at Rennie Grove Hospice Care are adapting their ways of working during the coronavirus crisis to ensure all patients and families continue to receive the support they need at home, day and night.

We care for adults and children with life-limiting illness who are already facing significant challenges which makes it even more important that the support they need is not affected.

Judith Moore, Head of Nursing and Patient Services in Herts explains:

“Our work is all about giving the adults and children we care for the support they need to manage their conditions and stay at home. Our hospice at home nurses make scheduled visits to patients to plan their care and monitor their symptoms, but we are also available to support them and visit if needed at any time of the day or night. It’s this part of the service in particular that helps keep our patients stable, comfortable and out of hospital and which is so vital during this crisis.”

During the first four weeks of lock down (from 23 March to 20 April), ​our hospice at home teams in west Herts and Bucks were providing care for 557 patients. Judith continued:

“It has been an immensely challenging time as we have adapted to new ways of working to ensure we keep our vulnerable patients and our nurses safe. Our nurses are working from home more and only coming into our office bases when they really need to in order to comply with government guidelines. They now phone each patient ahead of planned visits to establish the support required and ensure they have the correct level of PPE when visiting.

“Obtaining supplies of PPE has been a particular challenge and we are immensely grateful to the local schools, businesses and individuals who have stepped forward with offers of visors and other items of PPE. However, it is important for us to secure a consistent supply chain as stocks run out quickly and this continues to be very difficult.”

The teams carried out 1,017 visits to patients’ homes during the first four weeks of lock down and provided 6,581 hours of support by telephone. Judith says:

“Initially we found that some patients preferred to have telephone support rather than a visit so our telephone activity increased by as much as 50%. But as the weeks have gone on, our visit numbers have increased significantly and I’m really proud to say that our nurses have responded magnificently to make sure that all patient needs are met. With many routine hospital appointments cancelled and hospitals struggling with the numbers of COVID patients, our care has been even more of a lifeline for our patients than usual.

“I would like to thank our nurses for working so incredibly hard to help take the pressure off our NHS colleagues and to do our bit in this fight against coronavirus.”

You can show your support for ​our nurses and patients by sharing notes and messages on social media. Please go to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and search for Rennie Grove Hospice Care.