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Monday, 21 September 2020

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‘Forget us not!’ plea from frontline hospice staff amid funding fears

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NURSES and healthcare assistants at Nottinghamshire Hospice are continuing to provide crucial end of life care in patients’ homes across Nottinghamshire, keeping hospital beds free for COVID-19 patients, as the charity launches a special appeal to replace lost income.

The ‘Forget Us Not’ campaign aims to recover funds for a projected shortfall of £150,000 caused by loss of income from the hospice’s ten shops and cancelled fundraising events.

Since the onset of the pandemic the hospice has expanded the care it provides to cope with exceptional demand, extending its Hospice Night Support service to offer daytime visits and converting its Day Therapy services to outreach for patients no longer able to come to the hospice.

Jo Polkey, Director of Care at Nottinghamshire Hospice, said:

“It’s vital that we continue to care for patients in their homes at the current time as it supports our NHS colleagues and helps patients with a terminal illness stay at home and out of hospital.

“Our frontline nursing teams are doing a fantastic job during unprecedented times, providing care for our very vulnerable patients in the last weeks, days and hours of their lives.

“Because we’ve had to temporarily close our shops and cancel many of the fundraising events and activities we had planned for the spring and summer, we’re appealing to people to get behind our campaign so we can continue delivering this much-needed care.

“We will not forget those who need us at this time. We will continue to bring palliative, bereavement and wellbeing support to our patients and their carers every day. Please do not forget us. If you can, please support our Forget Us Not appeal and help us reach out to people feeling alone, isolated and in need of our support at this uncertain time.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has put extra pressure on frontline teams in the way care is delivered. The hospice is following government and local guidance regarding PPE equipment to keep staff and patients safe and carrying out telephone triage before visiting patients’ homes to check if anyone in the household is experiencing symptoms.

The team recently put out a call on social media for help with PPE as stocks were running low, and companies and communities across Nottingham have responded, providing masks, aprons and sanitiser gel.

Jo added:

“I’m really grateful to those who have responded to this call. We really appreciate it. And if some other companies or individuals are able to help too, we’d love to hear from you.”

Following government guidance on distancing, the hospice has changed the way it delivers its Day Therapy services. Some of the nursing team have been redeployed to frontline duties, and others are carrying out outreach visits to patients who would otherwise have come to the centre. The team is also exploring innovative ways of delivering physio and Occupational Therapy advice virtually. Carer and bereavement counselling is being carried out by phone.

The ‘Forget Us Not’ appeal aims to raise as much as possible to address the anticipated loss of £150,000 – the cost of providing care services over three months. For £15, supporters can purchase a beautiful hand-painted Forget-Me-Not flower to remember a loved one. They can also take part in one of a series of virtual fundraising challenge, or donate.

Some of the fundraising events which were planned over the next few months have already been replaced with virtual alternatives, such as online pub quizzes at Nottingham’s Trent Navigation Inn, a 5k challenge – which invites people to run, walk, cycle or hop a five km distance, donate £5 and nominate five friends to do the same – and a virtual open garden tour. There are plans to develop more online challenges in the coming weeks.

To donate to the appeal go to https://www.nottshospice.org/get-involved/forget-us-not-appeal/

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