Hospice clinical team goes virtual to support patients during COVID-19 crisis

Categories: Care and Featured.

The clinical team at The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow has gone virtual in order to provide care and support to its patients.

While the inpatient unit is still fully operational, caring for patients with life-limiting illnesses and those at the end of their lives, community and day services patients are not able to visit the hospice.

A new virtual closed Facebook page has been designed and set up by the clinical services team. Community and day services patients and their carers have been invited to join the page, called the Virtual Living Well Hub. Each week, participants are invited to discuss a topic and interact with each other.

Gillian Sherwood, Clinical Services Director, explains: “For some of our patients, their visits to the hospice or from our community team are vital. However, we have had to think differently about how we can support these patients to ensure we are adhering to Government advice and legislation and keeping our patients and staff safe at the same time.

“We have weekly telephone contact with each patient, but we are aware that the social isolation may have a bigger toll on their wellbeing. By bringing our patients and their carers together virtually with our clinical services team, they are able to interact with each other and get advice and support on important wellbeing issues such as exercises and mental health advice.

“Our first week focussed on the ‘Connect’ theme. Everyone was encouraged to introduce themselves and talk about what was important to them. We will also have regular mindfulness sessions from a volunteer from Mindful-Being. Each week our staff will introduce new topics and encourage discussions and interactions with patients and their carers.

“The hub is also used to highlight other useful information and support from other organisations available online.”

The Virtual Living Well Hub is available to patients already being cared for by the hospice. For people who don’t use Facebook there will be a newsletter covering the topics discussed in the group. Meanwhile they continue to accept referrals as normal, with patients and families supported in line with national guidance.

Gillian adds: “We want to do whatever we can to support our patients during this ongoing crisis. We know the impact that social isolation is having on the population, so for people living with life-limiting illnesses it can be even more devastating.

“I’d also like to recognise the contribution of our clinical services team who have gone over and above to learn new skills to allow them to set up this virtual network. They are a truly dedicated and caring team.”

The work setting up the Virtual Living Well Hub also received a funding boost from the Foundation Scotland Response, Recovery and Resilience Fund. This has allowed staff time and resources to be dedicated to set up and maintain the virtual page.  

For more information visit The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice

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