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What it’s like to be a Willen Hospice nurse in a global pandemic.

Willen Hospice is our local and only Milton Keynes adult Hospice that have been caring for patients, 18+ who need it for over 40 years now. They are close to our community's hearts with their free end of life care they provide at their Hospice at Willen Lake and in people's home. With the support of their over 600 volunteers and 170 staff members, they specialise in: specialist symptom control, emotional support, spiritual support and care for carers. Often the most distressing aspect of living with life-limiting illnesses is the types of pain and symptoms which can arise.



Amy, a Community Lead Nurse at Willen Hospice shares what it's like to be a Willen Hospice nurse in a global pandemic.


“Hello, I’m Amy, a Community Lead Nurse at Willen Hospice.

 

“The last year has really been quite surreal, but our amazing team here at Willen, from the nurses and doctors, to the cleaners and volunteers, have made sure that we’ve kept our doors open to continue delivering free, compassionate care to our patients and their families."


"We’ve certainly had a fair few challenges to overcome. The hardest part is that as a nurse you’re usually quite a ‘touchy, feely’ person, and when people are in distress, your first instinct is to give them a hug, or put a hand on their shoulder, and it’s been very hard not being able to do that. It’s also really difficult when you go to see a patient and they can’t see even a smile because of our face masks; it makes it very hard to show empathy and understanding, which is such an important part of our job."


"Like the rest of the world when the pandemic hit, we had to quickly adapt and technology is now a huge part of our working day. We’re doing more telephone consultations than ever. In fact since the start of the pandemic, our Willen at Home team have made more than 14,000 phone calls! Our Inpatient Unit nurses are making it possible for patients staying at the Hospice to keep in touch with their loved ones via phone and video call when they can’t visit; and we’ve delivered physio sessions virtually, either live or as recorded tutorials on YouTube.

Alongside this, our Lymphoedema team continue to support patients with virtual assessment and care planning; and our Therapeutic and Wellbeing service has taken to ‘Teams’ to hold counselling sessions, online Art Therapy for young people; and even virtual ballet-fit, and yoga sessions to keep patients active."

 

"We’re doing the best we can in a very difficult situation, and the support from the community since the start of the pandemic has just been amazing. We’ve loved cheering people on as they’ve ran past the Hospice fundraising for us, or even just dropping off a take away roast dinner on a Sunday for our nurses and volunteers. It all makes a huge difference and helps us to continue doing what we do with a smile on our face, and love in our hearts for each and everyone of our patients.”

 

Willen Hospice needs to raise £4.7M every year, that’s £9 a minute. With shops closed and events postponed or cancelled due to Covid-19, they’re currently facing a 50% drop in fundraising income. You can find out more about the charity, and how to support their vital work here: https://www.willen-hospice.org.uk/support-us/fundraise-for-us/

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