In March, Southampton Hospitals Charity (SHC) launched an appeal to support the mental and physical wellbeing of the staff at University Hospital Southampton (UHS) who are facing unprecedented pressure whilst they deliver life-saving care and tackle the COVID-19 virus.
Speaking about the appeal, Joint Interim Director of SHC, Jeneen Thomsen said:
“In just a few weeks, we’ve raised £100,000 and the response from the local community has been absolutely incredible. The donations will support not only those who are treating patients with COVID-19 but also those working across the hospital who have had to rapidly adjust their ways of working, to both protect the health of vulnerable patients and to clear vital bed space in anticipation of a spike in COVID-19 patients requiring critical care.
“The money raised through this appeal has meant that we’ve been able to respond quickly to requests made from staff across UHS, ensuring that their morale is boosted and that they remain healthy in order to continue providing patients with the best possible care. From providing refreshment stations and food, hand gels and creams, to psychological support, Southampton Hospitals Charity will continue to do all we can to ensure our frontline staff are looked after in this uncertain time.”
Working closely with UHS Senior Management, and the Staff Wellbeing and Resistance Committee who include representatives from across the hospital tasked with overseeing staff wellbeing, the Charity has been able to distribute support where it was most needed and which has included:
- Staff wellbeing packs
- Coffee machines
- Radios to help patients during their isolated hospital stay, as well as boosting the morale of the staff working on the ward
- iPads for the Occupational Health team, enabling them to do interactive sessions with staff whilst remaining off-site.
- Tablets for staff so that they can connect safely with their loved ones at home whilst working long shifts or isolating themselves
- Microwaves for the theatre staff to heat up their lunches
The Charity will also be supporting specialist psychological support for staff, both now and into the future as they deal with and recover from the immensely traumatic experience of delivering care through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Liz Donovan, Director of Medical Education explains:
“We anticipate there will be a huge need for one-to-one therapy for staff as they recover from this challenge of having to work in a traumatic setting with a lot of pressure. Some may have PTSD, they may be grieving family losses, they may also be burned out and exhausted. We have a lot of therapists, psychologists, counsellors, psychiatrists and coaches waiting in the wings with offers of help.”
The psychologists who usually provide vital support to patients will now be supporting frontline staff through a dedicated helpline which will be manned 13 hours a day. Additionally, psychological support will be offered to the Chaplaincy team who will be doing their best to provide comfort and support through this difficult time.
Whilst this service is essential to help staff cope now and in the coming months, the team are also mindful that it will be just as important to provide psychological help after the crisis is over.
To donate visit www.southamptonhospitalscharity.org/NHSheroes or text:
NHSHEROES 3 to 70460 to donate £3
NHSHEROES 5 to 70460 to donate £5
NHSHEROES 10 to 70460 to donate £10