Essex charity Havens Hospices has created a special care team where nurses and nursing assistants have been redeployed across the organisation to support colleagues with self-isolation and sickness.

Long shifts, unfamiliar working environments and personal circumstances can take their toll, so in response the hospice has created the “Havens Hospices Care Team”.  Its purpose is to look after the wellbeing of staff so they can continue providing quality care to people during the third lockdown of the pandemic.

Designated spaces with therapeutic activities have been set aside for those working on the frontline, and additional staff counselling and supervision have been arranged as employees try to process the pace of change, and attempt to switch off at the end of a shift.

The wellbeing of staff

Chanelle Wilson is Head of Wellbeing at Havens Hospices. She says: “Our Care Teams – and others who work on the frontline like housekeeping – have been so incredibly resilient, working throughout this newest phase of the pandemic. But it’s inevitable that they become tired too as they try to balance the demands of caring for patients with complex or incurable conditions with their own mental wellbeing.”

Staff are also being trained in how to create memory boxes for patients, so they can leave a a lasting legacy for their family. “Our priority right now is to support our frontline staff so they feel confident and competent at the start of each shift that they can deal with whatever challenges – logistical and emotional – they may face. Whilst we are used to supporting patients at the end of their life, PPE and visiting restrictions make our usual approach harder, so we’re using methods like the memory box activity to help patients and families feel connected.”

Emotional wellbeing support continues for patients and families too. The team is currently helping Southend University Hospital patients, families and staff with bereavement support as it deals with an increased number of deaths.

Useful resources

  • Our Frontline is a partnership between Shout, Samaritans, Mind, Hospice UK and The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It offers round-the-clock one-to-one support, by call or text from trained volunteers, plus resources, tips and ideas to look after your mental health. Visit the Our Frontline site
  • Hospice UK’s Just ‘B’ Counselling & Trauma helpline.  The service is a free confidential national helpline available 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm on 0300 030 4434, providing bereavement, trauma and emotional support for all NHS, care sector staff and emergency service workers.