During the pandemic, we used technology in ways we hadn’t before. Without knowing how long we had to stay apart from our patients and their loved ones, we started offering a few online sessions to continue our support.
During isolation and very difficult times for everyone, we managed to grow this service and built a successful virtual programme tailored to our patients’ needs.
As the restrictions eased and we were able to invite a small number of patients and families into the Hospice, we saw an opportunity to build on our hybrid model of care. However, there were still patients who couldn’t come into the Wellbeing Centre for various reasons.
For example, some patients were hesitant to visit because of the uncertainty about what hospices offer, they might be
unable to travel to the Hospice, or they might have work commitments or hospital appointments reducing the time available to attend in person.
We therefore decided to continue our offer of combining online and face-to-face sessions as an ongoing service. This new way of working has helped us reach more patients and made our services accessible to people of all ages.
In particular, we now have a larger number of younger people who, perhaps with young families and may still be working, can participate in our support sessions and activities.
A very successful example of this new approach has been our breathlessness programme. We provide the sessions online, as well as having a small number of attendees in the Hospice with the team.
This flexibility allows us to meet the growing demand for our services and ensures that no patient is turned away due to capacity constraints.
Families and carers are able to access support as well through the wide variety of sessions available to them, from drop-in sessions in the Hospice, to a rolling online programme of six sessions covering many aspects of being a carer and a loved one, including relaxation and music sessions.
They find a safe space, either online or in-person in the Wellbeing Centre, to safely share their experiences with
others and access support for people in similar situations.
Our volunteers have tirelessly supported this new way of working and have been keen supporters of our hybrid model.
They have been able to run online Art and Yoga sessions as well as support people who choose to come in to the Hospice. Furthermore, we have used the hybrid model to offer complementary therapy for our patients and families.
The Wellbeing Nurses can now also support individuals using Accurx which integrates with EMIS (our electronic patient record system) when appropriate. This model provides flexibility for the team and enables the patients to choose what works best for them.
Telephone assessments also offer patients the opportunity to discuss their needs and preferences, ensuring that their treatment plans are tailored to their specific needs.
We have been able to introduce the Hospice to our patients virtually and show them around helping them to understand that the Hospice can be a bright, friendly place.
Our patients and their families have the opportunity to learn about the Hospice before they visit in person and they may then choose to visit the Wellbeing Centre.
Whether they prefer in-person sessions, virtual sessions, or a mix of both, the hybrid model puts the power of choice in their hands, respecting their individual preferences and circumstances.
As we evolve in a post-pandemic world, the hybrid model of wellbeing sessions emerges as a catalyst for positive change. By combining online with in-person sessions, we can reach and support more patients.
This model goes beyond accessibility and inclusivity by empowering patients, accommodating larger numbers, supporting their loved ones and delivering personalised care.
With the integration of technology and the dedication of our volunteers and healthcare professionals, the
hybrid model opens the door to a brighter and more holistic future for our sessions.