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Help us care in uncertain times

24th March 2020

An appeal from Dr Nicky Wilderspin, Medical Director at St Richard’s Hospice:

As the Medical Director here at St Richard’s, I wanted to let you know how your hospice team is continuing to help patients and their loved ones across Worcestershire in these unprecedented times. And, I’d also like to ask you to consider supporting our work.

I work as one member of a large team of passionate, dedicated people and we all share one goal. For our patients, we wish to provide the medical support they need to live a full and rich life, for as long as possible. When the time comes, they deserve to be able to spend their final days in peace and comfort – and to die with dignity and free from pain. For their families and loved ones, we want to continue to give them the practical and emotional support that will help them through a time of immense loss and grief.

The coronavirus crisis does not change these goals – even though we know, inevitably, we’ll be asked to care for many more vulnerable people over the next few months. Our responsibility is to plan and adapt the way we support local people – so that, when we are needed most, we can still be there to provide expert care.

Our patients are the very people who are most vulnerable during the threat of this virus – and our nursing and clinical teams are the front line of the medical care they will need.

The action we took just a few days ago is profound. Work shifts and patterns have been adapted enormously as we work to keep as many of our In-patient beds open as possible. Our team has responded in a way that makes us extremely proud.

Many other functions have, as far as possible, been switched from face-to-face services. My Community Nurse colleagues will be reaching patients through videocalls where they can. Individual and group bereavement support activities will also be delivered online and by phone for the time being. In this way, we hope to maintain as many of our core services as we can.

We’re doing our utmost to continue caring for the people who need us most across Worcestershire. But we also cannot do what we do without the amazing support we receive from the community.

You see, we’re already seeing a huge drop in the fundraising income that pays for the vast majority of our work. Our shops are temporarily closed for business and fundraising activities and events have been cancelled for the foreseeable future – and we rely on the money these would have raised to pay for our essential care services.

Just 22% of our costs are funded by the NHS – so it’s donations, sponsorship and gifts in Wills that enable us to provide the excellent care that people need. It’s people like you that help us to keep going.

So, today, I ask you to join us as we work to maintain our care services – and as we prepare for the challenging months ahead – by contributing to our Resilience Fund.

You must do all that is needed to look after yourself and your loved ones. The safety and security of your family comes first, always. My request to you is simply that if you support the goals we share for local people – and you can spare it – you make a donation today. Donate to our Resilience Fund.

Our Resilience Fund will do exactly as the name suggests; provide the reserves we need to remain by the sides of our patients in the uncertain days to come. If you can help today, our promise is that we will use your donation to give the best possible care and support to patients and their loved ones that we can during these challenging times.

From all of us here at St Richard’s, thank you for your support. Please accept our heartfelt thanks in advance for any gift, of any size, you feel able to give today. I hope to be able to update you again, in happier times, very soon.

Thank you!

Nicky

I should add, our Fundraising Team is coming up with lots of ways for our whole community to engage in fun, inspiring activities at home – and which help to raise money for St Richard’s. News and ideas will be added every day – just visit www.strichards.org.uk

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

During this challenging time, we are doing our utmost to continue caring for the patients and loved ones who need us most.

The way we work has been adapted, with many of our services delivered remotely – such as over the phone, or by video call. And we are working closely with other health care professionals in Worcestershire to share knowledge and expertise at this time.

Latest changes at St Richard’s Hospice

  • In-patient Unit: It is with great sadness that due to stringent infection control measures, we are required to restrict visiting and cannot offer the comprehensive level of service in the way we usually do. However, we will still do our utmost to make sure that each patient and loved one is given the compassion and dignity they deserve. To help families stay in touch we are encouraging virtual visiting using technology such as video calls and apps. This will be discussed and explained to patients and families on admission and we can help provide access to equipment in the hospice. In addition, the IPU nursing team will liaise with each patient and family to arrange short daily visits from the patient's closest loved one and compassionate visiting, as appropriate. Read the full details here.
  • Community Nursing: Community services continue to operate, with a mixture of hands-on care and remote support.
  • Living Well and Family Support Services: Switched to virtual model, with care given remotely over the phone or via video call.
  • Shops: All 19 of our shops and warehouse are temporarily closed. Please do not leave donations outside our shops, as we are unable to collect them at this time.
  • Fundraising: All hospice organised events until the end of August have been postponed. If you wish to support us, please donate to our Resilience Fund.

Please do not visit St Richard’s Hospice if you have a high temperature or new, continuous cough. If you have these symptoms, please stay at home and self-isolate for seven days. See NHS advice on coronavirus.

Thank you for your support and understanding at this difficult time.