Dee Dockery, pictured left, is one of our Sisters on the Inpatient Unit, working tirelessly alongside our nursing teams and doctors to support patients facing a terminal illness and some with coronavirus at this time.
Sister Dee explains what it is like to be a hospice nurse during these challenging times. She says,“It is very demanding and busy on the Inpatient Unit right now. We are admitting Covid-positive patients directly from the NHS as much as our capacity allows us to, to help free up hospital beds. These patients need our specialist palliative care to help with symptom control and pain management. Others are with us to be cared for in the last few weeks or days of their life. We also continue to admit patients from home who are very poorly and vulnerable, and need our compassionate care and support.”
Sister Dee goes on to speak about the biggest challenges she and her team are facing, “The biggest challenge for us all is wearing the PPE. Everyone is struggling with having to wear masks for their whole shift, which can be for eight hours or sometimes longer.
“Infection control is also a challenge but so important. You must always be very clean and extra careful going from patient to patient. You have to make sure you’re constantly washing your hands, and keeping your distance where you can.
“Palliative care is comfort care, this is really hard for us at the moment as we have to keep socially distanced to protect us, our patients and their family members. When our patients or their family members are visibly upset, we cannot comfort them like we usually would, with a simple hug or holding their hands.”
The pandemic has brought challenges for patients and staff at the Hospice, but it has also had a big impact on patient’s families and loved ones who wish to visit them. Restrictions are in place for visiting to ensure the safety of everyone at the Hospice. Sister Dee explains,“Patient’s family and friends are all lateral flow tested on arrival at the Hospice. We are only allowing two visitors per patient on the visiting list to reduce footfall into the hospice, which is really hard as it goes against everything a hospice is.”
The coronavirus pandemic has been difficult for us all, but there are some positives to take away from the challenges we have faced. Sister Dee says, “One positive we can take away from the pandemic is everyone across the UK now knows the importance of infection control! Once the pandemic is over, hopefully we will all keep those habits of good hand hygiene. Infection control in nursing is so important anyway, but it is really heavy in the public eye now. Everyone is doing it, even in non-healthcare roles.
“Another positive is the fantastic teamwork. Everyone is facing difficult times and it’s so lovely to see people pulling together as never before.”