Coronavirus has drastically changed a lot about life but Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland is continuing to provide vital services to patients in need of palliative and end of life care.
In these desperately challenging times, Hospice at Home’s heroic staff are ensuring the quality of care and support for local patients and families remains second to none.
Hospice trainee nursing associate Emma Evans doesn’t feel as though she is doing anything particularly special and says she’s just doing her job.
However, the mum-of-two does say that one of the hardest things during the Covid-19 crisis is the emotional barrier created by the protective equipment she and her colleagues are required to wear and by social distancing measures they must practise, where possible.
“Everybody we go to is so used to seeing our faces, seeing us smiling and seeing our facial expressions. Now we’ve got masks on it creates a massive barrier when you’re trying to comfort somebody and you want to be that smiling face. You want them to know your face is matching the words your saying. They can only see our eyes,” said Emma.
“A lot of the time all you want to do is hug somebody. It’s difficult because that is second nature to us, but the usual ways we would comfort somebody have had to change. We are limited on what we can do now and it’s really tough. A husband or wife could be pouring their heart out to you about how they feel and how poorly their loved one is and all you want to do is grab them and make sure they know everything is okay and they’ve got people looking after them.
“Even though you are kitted out in all this protective equipment and they can’t see you, you’ve got to make them feel as comfortable as you can.”
For many patients and families, Hospice at Home’s nursing staff and volunteers are the only people they’re seeing and emotional support is needed more than ever.
Emma, whose children are Jessica, 9, and five-year-old William, started her nursing course in March, is continuing her studies online, alongside her job and caring for her family. She has felt very emotional and found it hard to put into words to see how others have recognised the work she and her colleagues, and all other key workers are doing to keep the country safe and moving.
“There are a lot of people doing a lot of worthy jobs that we need. We don’t feel like we are doing anything special. Recognition for doing your job is always lovely but you don’t ever feel like you need or deserve it. We just carry on and do our job as best we can, the same as everybody else really,” said Emma.
The Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland service covers 1,500 square miles from the Scottish Border to Stainmore and Allonby to Alston. The charity is vital and needs to raise over £20,000 each week to continue to provide this service.
Nursing staff will typically care for three patients a day in their homes, provide emotional support for their families and care for patients for a period of time to enable their family members to have time to themselves.
Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland needs to raise 80 per cent of its annual running costs and this is only achieved through the kindness of the local community, businesses and organisations
Anyone interested in raising funds or volunteering should contact the Hospice at Home fundraising office 01768 210719 or visit the Hospice at Home website.