Six months into the Covid-19 pandemic, Treetops Hospice Care in Derbyshire is continuing to provide end of life care for patients in their homes with their Hospice at Home team.
The care given by the team of forty nurses and healthcare assistants has become more valuable than ever since the pandemic began, as patients and the people caring for them experience high levels of anxiety and in some cases, isolation.
Care that’s more vital than ever
The Hospice at Home Service can be called upon 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Nurses are available during the daytime as well as through the night, allowing family members and carers to take a break or get a good night’s sleep. Last year Hospice at Home nurses provided over 28,000 hours of care across the region.
Nurse Liz Docker explains how vital this service is right now: “The patients we go out to support have got a life-limiting illness. They are reaching the end of their life and that would be happening anyway, whether there is Covid-19 or not.
“As a carer looking after somebody who’s very ill, it’s extremely difficult at home. It can be very stressful and really tiring, and nobody can keep caring for 24 hours a day. Nights can be especially difficult for carers.”
To help the team work more efficiently, the hospice recently acquired a number of laptops that will give them direct access to their patients’ details, and make it possible for them to receive updates of a patient’s care needs before attending a shift. This will support the nurses so they’re better informed of a patient’s requirements before visiting.
“When we arrive at someone’s house we get to know the patient, and get to know the family” Liz says. “Then the family can go and get a good night’s sleep and we do everything that’s needed during the night.”
Liz explains the additional difficulties Covid-19 is bringing to their work: “We’re used to going into these situations where people are very, very ill and where the family is very stressed, but we have got this extra risk going on at the moment. There is a level of anxiety amongst us because this is a situation that we’ve not had to deal with before, but the hospice is doing everything they can to provide us with PPE.
“This is not the time to stop giving the care that we give. That’s just the kind of people we are – we’re going to keep going until it’s physically impossible to.”
- For more about how Treetops Hospice at Home nurses have been working on the frontline throughout the pandemic visit On the frontline: Devoted hospice nurses continue caring for terminally ill during Covid-19
- To find a hospice near you visit Hospice UK’s hospice finder