* Team Nightingale zoom in on their day patients to stay connected and provide a friendly listening ear and join in the banter with their patients.
Clinical staff are organising ‘keep in touch’ days for patients who are missing their regular visits to Nightingale House’s Day Unit on Chester Road.
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 online group calls to bring the patients together to ensure they are not left feeling lonely and isolated.
It is an opportunity to chat and link in to the services that so many of them 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 CaffiCwtch 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.
Kay Ryan said: “By the very nature of our operations our Day Service Unit is an important aspect of our patient’s lives. 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 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.