Responding to the coronavirus pandemic, Tina Swani, chief executive at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, said:
“The rise of coronavirus is a worrying time for us all but for people living with life-limiting illness – people who may be more vulnerable and at higher risk of experiencing complications – this time will be particularly distressing.
That’s why, at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, our main concern is that people living with complex and terminal conditions continue to get the vital care they need during these extreme and difficult circumstances.
As always, our focus is our people, which is why we’re continuing to run our urgent and essential services. Our Inpatient Unit at the Hospice is still open, with staff providing around the clock care, and our team are also offering critical support in people’s homes.
For patients with less urgent needs, or for those who are self-isolating, we are using a number of digital channels to keep in touch and monitor their symptoms. From WhatsApp consultations to video calls, we’re making sure that patients are still receiving much-needed advice during this difficult time, as well as maintaining human contact to support with their emotional wellbeing.
Unfortunately, following government advice on social distancing, we have had to make the difficult decision to temporarily suspend some of our services, such as our Day Hospice and Space to Breath programmes. However, we’re still supporting the individuals who use these services via regular telephone contact or digital consultations.
In the midst of all the worry and uncertainty, I have been humbled to see how dedicated, hard-working and compassionate our team at the Hospice have been. Not only are we doing all we can to support our patients and their loved ones, but we’re working collaboratively with GPs, District Nurses and our NHS colleagues to ensure more people get the care they deserve. We’re experiencing huge pressures to our health service at the moment, and so it’s vital that we work together so that people don’t miss out on the care they need.
Of course, coronavirus hasn’t just affected our care services. As a charity, we rely on fundraising events, community activities and corporate partnerships to ensure we have the vital funds needed to run our services – many of which have been postponed to help prevent the spread of the virus. This means we’ll be losing out on much-needed funds at a critical time. Lack of funding could bring all our services to a halt, and they could break down to the point that becomes hard to build them back up quickly. That’s why I’m appealing to all our generous supporters to keep in contact and continue to find ways to raise crucial funds and keep us going in such times of hardship.
We need your help more than ever before and it will be your generous donations that care for people during this unprecedented situation. So let’s unite together for hospice care and help support our most vulnerable during these difficult times.”
At Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, the wellbeing of the people we support, hospice visitors, staff and volunteers is our number one priority. To find our latest Coronavirus (Covid-19) update, please read here.