Specialist Ashgate Hospicecare teams supporting NHS staff at Chesterfield Royal looking after COVID-19 patients
Ashgate Hospicecare is now delivering support sessions for NHS teams at the hospital who are working with patients who have received a positive diagnosis of COVID-19.
The confidential group sessions offer NHS staff a safe place to talk openly about their anxieties, concerns and experiences in a supportive way. This is designed to prevent trauma and support those colleagues to come to terms and process their experiences looking after those patients.
Ashgate are experts in providing bereavement counselling and support – both to their own teams and to friends and families of patients at the hospice. There are now four team members from Ashgate Hospicecare based in the hospital four times a week offering support to NHS teams.
Arlene Honeyman, Head of Supportive Care at Ashgate Hospicecare, says: “Even for our hospice teams who are used to looking after end of care patients we’ve had to provide wobble rooms where they can go and have a moment and get support. There’s all sorts of issues coming into play – providing end of life care while wearing PPE, patients not being able to have the same number of visitors they normally would, worry about their own health and loved ones back home – so emotional support is vital.”
“NHS teams and hospice teams aren’t superhuman, they need care and support like anyone else. And for the staff at Chesterfield Royal many haven’t had to look after so many end of life patients in such a short space of time. We are so pleased to be supporting our colleagues at Chesterfield Royal Hospital. Our aim is to take Ashgate ‘care and compassion’ to those who are working in this challenging environment.”
“We are so impressed with the commitment and care they offer and will do whatever we can to support them to continue and stay well themselves.”
Staff receiving supportive care will also be offered access to the hospice’s ‘wobble room’ which was set up for hospice staff who need and can go for a wobble, pause and recharge or be supported to pause, recharge and move on. Staff from Chesterfield Royal Hospital will be able to receive this service next week and have access in between group sessions if they need support at other times.
Susan Hawkins, Ward Sister at Chesterfield Royal has receiving supportive care from Ashgate Hospicecare along with a lot of her team. Susan said: “Both myself and members of the team feel the support service provided by Ashgate Hospicecare has been brilliant, being able to express ourselves about the issues we’ve been facing in a calm environment and not be judged. We have all felt relieved that we’re able to unload our thoughts and anxieties during this extremely difficult time.”
She added: “To go from where we usually work on the Urology department to go completely out of our comfort zone and away from our speciality has been really frightening and challenging. To have that extra support and for someone to come in and say it’s alright to talk and listen with empathy, it has been really beneficial to all of us.”