A hospice in Aylesford has introduced a new service to help patients and families stay in touch during the coronavirus outbreak.
The Heart of Kent Hospice at Preston Hall now has a dedicated Family Liaison Service, a team of five who spend time with each patient keeping them entertained and occupied while in isolation in their rooms.
One of the things the team helps with is showing patients how to make video calls so they can see loved ones ‘in person’. They have also been making gifts using art and craft materials donated to the hospice to send to family members.
One patient, Robert Todman who is a retired photographer, wanted to share the view of the hospice garden from his room so his family could enjoy it too.
One of the team gave him a camera and the images were emailed to his family.
Another patient made hand prints which were given to her grandchildren so they could imagine they were holding nanny’s hand.
Kerry Harrison, Patient Services Director, says it has helped boost morale.
"It has given families and friends reassurance and peace of mind that their loved ones are in the best possible place and they can be ‘there’ with them at the end of their lives. And it has helped the clinical team focus on providing compassionate care while knowing their patients have companionship during their time at the hospice."
Before the coronavirus outbreak, those on the Inpatient Unit were able to have visitors at any time. Now, patients are only able to have one nominated visitor in the last phase of their illness.
Kerry Harrison added: “Receiving visitors is incredibly valuable to a patient’s wellbeing while they are staying in the hospice. Spending time with friends and family helps them to feel loved and supported as well as breaking up the day and helping them remain positive.
“We follow Public Health England and Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust guidance because we want to do everything in our power to ensure we are protecting our patients, their loved ones, and our colleagues.”
The Family Liaison team have also been showing patients how to take advantage of virtual tours. With the help of technology, patients were shown around Buckingham Palace on St George’s Day.