Nightingale House keeping patients connected with hospice services with online calls system

Patients who are missing their regular visits to Nightingale House Hospice are set to benefit from new virtual “keep in touch days”.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak and the way that the hospice is now operating under strict guidelines, day patients with life-limiting illnesses are no longer able to visit and access the valuable face to face services previously available to them. These include physiotherapy, counselling, aromatherapy, art and music therapy, as well as the support and social interaction they benefit from.

In order to keep the contact going, Kay Ryan, who heads up the Day Services Unit, is organising regular on line group calls to bring the patients together to ensure they are not left feeling lonely and isolated.

The calls will provide and opportunity to chat and a link in to the services that so many benefit from on a daily or weekly basis.

This is in addition to the regular (sometimes daily) consultations that take place with individual patients either by phone or video call. The number of people needing this adapted service is currently over 40.

After one patient told them they were missing the home-cooked meals made at the hospice by award-winning chef Peter Jackson and his team from Caffi Cwtch, they are now preparing home-cooked dinners to each day patient who wants one and lives within five miles of the hospice, delivered to their door, once a week for free.

Feedback from the day service patients and their families have been flooding into the team and are being seen as a great motivator for all involved.

As well as the regular calls, the team is sending regular resources by post and email to help maintain individual treatment plans.

“I really miss coming in to the hospice every week, so these Zoom catch-ups are great for staying in touch,” said Jim.

“As I am in the vulnerable category I can’t go out for three months so this is the next best thing.”

Ed added: “I never like looking at the camera but everybody is suffering at the moment and I am self-isolating within my own home, so keeping in touch and to see familiar faces is really important and valuable to me.”

When Kathy visits the hospice she loves to get her hair done and meet up with friends. She said: “I miss the camaraderie of being able to chat and whilst I am not a tech-type person I wanted to join Zoom to connect with everyone at Nightingale House.”

Garth says he is tolerating his time in self-isolation and said:”I am missing the warm and welcome atmosphere at the hospice and the lovely lunches from Caffi Cwtch.”

For Doreen [not her real name] it has been an opportunity to discuss any health concerns on a one to one basis with the nursing team. She said: “I find it really hard at times and I have been suffering with some health worries during lockdown but being able to connect with Kay and the team for help and advice is very reassuring.”

“By the very nature of our operations our Day Service Unit is an important aspect of our patient’s lives,” explained Kay Ryan.

“Ordinarily the benefits of each patient being able to spend time with people who are living with life-limiting illnesses and gain comfort and support from each other is immeasurable.

“We felt that whilst we couldn’t see each other face to face we could do the next best thing for all of us.

“The staff here are all missing the patients so we wanted them to feel part of the service even if they weren’t attending.

“The feedback has been very rewarding and given them the opportunity to discuss any issues or concerns they have with the group, or privately with our expert nursing and therapy teams.”

Whilst the Zoom calls are connecting the group for a chat, the Day Services team is planning more interactive sessions to boost well-being over the coming weeks for patients to re-engage with the activities they would normally access during their normal weekly visits