Emotional and Practical Support in Challenging Times
11 May 2020
The last few months have seen us all adapting to new ways of managing our home and work lives, as we strive to contain the spread of Coronavirus. Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care (PTHC) is working with the NHS to help tackle the pandemic head on, with its medical and nursing teams providing 24-hour front line care to its patients and their families, both at the Hospice and in patients’ own homes. However, it is not only clinical care which the charity provides – it also offers counselling, social work advice, welfare support and pastoral care, through its Patient & Family Support team, which is continuing to provide its services throughout the pandemic.
The Patient & Family Support team offers practical and emotional help to Phyllis Tuckwell’s patients and their families. Its Social Workers and Benefits & Entitlements Officers advise on welfare and benefits issues, ensuring that its patients and their families are still able to receive the ongoing practical and financial support they need, and helping them to apply for other items, such as blue badges for their cars, where appropriate. During the pandemic they are also helping vulnerable patients to register for shopping and prescription deliveries, and offering regular phone calls to those who are self-isolating. The charity’s Counsellors are also offering telephone support to patients and families, including newly bereaved families of its patients. The team has created a support pack tailored to dealing with bereavement during the pandemic, and has extended access to its bereavement services to include other families of patients who have been referred to PTHC by the NHS.
Phyllis Tuckwell’s Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy team are focusing mainly on the Hospice’s In-Patient Unit, visiting patients every day and offering support calls to families where appropriate. Members of the team are able to sit and talk with patients, and read out messages which their loved ones have sent them when they are unable to visit due to coronavirus restrictions. Patients can talk to friends and relatives on phone or video calls any time they want to, and those with a TV in their room can bring in photographs which can be uploaded and shown on their TV screens on a loop. Families are offered comfort pebbles, one of which can be kept by the patient and the other taken by their loved ones, or can take home a vigil candle from the chapel, as a way of keeping a link with the Hospice and their loved one.
By adapting quickly to new ways of working, Phyllis Tuckwell has been able to continue to provide the compassionate supportive and end of life care which it is so well known for locally, supporting its patients and their families throughout these challenging times.