An update from Saint Michael’s Hospice day therapy services

While our inpatient and home services continued to operate as usual during the early stages of COVID-19, offering face-to-face care to patients, our Saint Michael’s day therapy services underwent a radical transformation.

To support the spirit of lockdown and protect the many patients we work with who were required to shield during the crisis, we made the difficult decision to pause the group day therapy sessions usually held at Saint Michael’s Crimple House Hospice.

But that did not stop our very committed team from continuing to offer care and support to people who could benefit from outpatient care during lockdown.

The team set about working out how people could still access care and support, when they needed it, through the use of technology.

The foundation of these more ‘virtual’ support packages were weekly welfare calls to each patient.

If these highlighted that a patient was experiencing any particular issues that they needed help with, follow-up telephone, video or face-to-face home consultations were arranged.

There was also some testing of virtual groups to enable peer support and tackle isolation and practical support, such as shopping and medicine deliveries, were arranged as needed.

This new way of working enabled the team to care for more than 30 people a week during lockdown, more people than if the Day Therapy Unit was running as usual.

Director Kathy Newbould explains: “For some of our patients living in the community, their outpatient visits to the hospice are vital.

“So we needed to think differently and quickly about how we could support these people whilst also adhering to government guidance and legislation and keeping our patients and colleagues safe at the same time.

“The team were incredible, embracing new ways of working and the technology to support these new approaches.

“This meant that not only could we continue to deliver vital care to people who needed it during COVID-19 but it also showed the potential of virtual care and support packages.

“It certainly has got us thinking about how these can be integrated into our work more permanently to increase the reach and impact we have.”

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