Pendleside Hospice staff have gone 'over and above' in dealing with coronavirus pandemic

How Pendleside Hospice has faced up to dealing with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic has been described as an “amazing team effort” by chief executive Helen McVey.

Thursday, 16th July 2020, 3:45 pm

Within weeks Pendleside had created an extra eight bedrooms – which almost doubled its 10-bed inpatient unit – taking pressure off beds in our local hospitals.

But it also meant increasing the amount of nursing and medical staff needed to serve the needs of 18 inpatients.

Helen said: “We couldn’t have supported our patients without the good will, hard work and professionalism of all our staff.

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Karen Cookson, day services team leader, Lisa Thompson, trainee assistant practitioner, and staff nurse Melanie Meecham attend to patient Alistair Sydney

“They have worked over and above what is usually expected of them.

“They have cancelled days off and annual leave to support our needs and I am very proud of them all.”

Staff from all departments have rallied to switch their attention to caring for the existing and extra patients bolstering the already dedicated inpatients team of nurses, doctors and auxiliary staff.

Day services staff, who usually work Monday to Friday, have pitched in seven days a week, inpatients staff have worked extra hours and the medical team have worked over seven days.

Complementary therapists, a fundraiser and an apprentice clinical administrator have become auxiliary nurses; kitchen staff have turned their hand to domestic duties; retired and departed nursing staff have returned to duty; and hospice-at-home nurses have shared their shifts between hospice-at-home and inpatients.

In addition, family support, finance and fundraisers have worked from home while others accepted furlough leave on 80% salary saving the hospice money during a period when it expected to lose more than £1m in revenue.

Julia O’Neill, normally head of day services, has been co-ordinating admissions and discharges to inpatients; hospice care in the community; the supply of drugs, medicines and personal protection equipment; as well as dealing with relatives’ queries alongside Alison Sutcliffe, Inpatient and Hospice at Home Manager.

She said: “I must take my hat off to all the team, everybody has worked very flexibly, embracing the situation and making sure that the hospice fulfils all of its requirements in this time of crisis.

“The new working arrangement has definitely strengthened relationships between departments and people have much more of an understanding and appreciation of what their colleagues across the Hospice do.

“I have been truly humbled working alongside my colleagues in the inpatients’ unit. We have a better understanding and a better appreciation. Our nurses at Pendleside are second to none.”

And fundraiser Leah Hutchinson, who has been working as an auxiliary nurse, said: “The nurses have been so helpful and by shadowing them they have taught me lots of things. The experience has given fundraising a new meaning to me because I have now seen at first hand where the money raised is spent and how patients and their families are so grateful of the care they receive.”

Leah added: “While there have been sad times as well as happy times during my time working with the inpatients, I personally, will be very sad to be leaving when this is all over. Although, my experience will make things more real when I talk to schools and businesses during my normal duties.”

And chief executive Helen McVey said: “The pandemic is by no means over despite the easing of lockdown measures. The extra demand on our team as key workers continues and there is no let up on our services at this present time.”