The clinical team at The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice have been busy elves during this festive season bringing some Christmas cheer to the hospice’s Living Well Hub and Day Services patients.
Each week during December, the team is sending out gift packs to these patients to encourage them to stay connected with the hospice. While the inpatient unit is still fully operational caring for patients with life-limiting illnesses and those at the end of their lives, day services patients including those in the Living Well Hub have not been able to visit the hospice during the pandemic. Hospice staff have been keeping in touch with these patients through telephone consultations and house visits when needed.
The first week in December saw staff sending out Christmas card-making packs including stickers, card and pieces of craft artwork that patients use to make their own Christmas card to send back for display in the hospice. The second week has hot chocolate-making kits sent out for patients to enjoy in their own homes.
Rhona Baillie, Chief Executive of The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice, explains: “We know that our Living Well Hub and Day Services patients are very much missing their visits to the hospice. For some, it was the highlight of their week. They would come into the hospice for a day where they would have lunch, catch up with their friends and staff and have access to complementary therapy, hair salon/barber, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, art, nurse review and Family Support.
“However, these patients are clinically unwell and therefore have had to shield for their own protection. So, since March we have been coming up with new and innovative ways of keeping them connected with our staff, and with other patients.
“Our Virtual Living Well Hub has been running since the start of the pandemic in April. This closed Facebook page allows our patients/carers to interact with staff and other patients/carers in similar situations to themselves. Social isolation can have a massive impact on a person’s mental health which in turn can affect their physical health so we have been doing all we can to ensure we all remain connected. Our staff are posting something Christmassy each week day to encourage our patients/carers to be involved in an activity every day – for example, Christmas countdown challenge, Facebook board games and Christmas jumper day.”
Two patients who have received their Christmas packs and are delighted are Dot Connelly and Tom McAllister both from the Govan area.
Dot said: “I am missing coming to day services so much as I really miss the company and seeing everyone.
“All the staff at the hospice are lovely and Carolyn has been phoning regularly and is very supportive and easy to talk to. I am also enjoying my visits from Anne and going on walks with her. I feel really supported from the staff at hospice."
Tom said: "Support from the hospice has been brilliant. I have been telephoned by staff regularly to ask how I am. I really enjoyed coming to day services at the hospice and I am missing it a lot especially the time I spent in the art room with the artists. I also enjoy my chats with Nigel (volunteer) and walks with Anne."
While day services at the hospice will remain virtual during the pandemic, the team will aim to continue to communicate regularly with these patients to ensure they remain connected with the hospice.