We are issuing an SOS!!

  • 14 April 2020

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Cambridgeshire’s only adult Hospice has issued an urgent ‘SOS!! Support Our Services’ appeal. The call comes in response to the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on the Charity’s ability to fundraise for its vital services this year.

The Hospice provides care and support services to patients with an advanced serious illness or a life-limiting condition, and provides end-of-life care, typically to people who are in the last two weeks of their life:

“My father spent the final 10 days of his life in the Hospice and he (and we, as his family) couldn’t have been cared for better.  He passed away very peacefully with many of us around him. It was particularly special that my mother had a bed next to his for his last two nights. We feel bereft that many other families cannot share such moments at this time because of COVID-19.”  Sue, whose father passed away on 13 October 2019

In response to the COVID-19 epidemic, the Hospice has had to reduce many of its services to protect the safety of its patients whilst simultaneously refocusing on the core healthcare needs of the County. In just one month (from February to March 2020), demand for the care that the Charity provides within people’s homes (observing strict infection control procedures) has increased, as seen in the 61% increase in the number of referrals to the Hospice at Home night service.

Calls to the Hospice have also increased, as demonstrated in the 27.5% increase in the length of time spent on triage calls by the Arthur Rank Community Team.  Despite the difficult circumstances, in March the Inpatient Unit still provided care to 27 patients with complex end of life needs, alongside 19 patients in nurse-led beds.

Strict restrictions have had to be introduced for visitors to the Inpatient Unit and care staff across all services are struggling with the harsh reality of not being able to offer a comforting hug, or a hand to hold, to family members and their loved one, at moments of heart-breaking loss.

The clinical team are working closely with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Commissioning Group (CCG), Addenbrooke’s Hospital and social care networks to ensure the Hospice is doing everything it can to support the healthcare needs of the wider Cambridgeshire population.

The Hospice’s Voluntary Services team’s newly launched ‘Caring Communities’ scheme has moved to offering their services over the phone, and have additionally introduced a new telephone befriender role to support Arthur Rank Hospice patients at risk of loneliness and isolation.

Retired staff, GPs and student Doctors have volunteered for clinical roles and administrative and fundraising staff have been redeployed to further support clinical teams. Local businesses have rallied around the Hospice, donating essential items such as PPE for clinical colleagues and iPads for patients enabling them to communicate with loved ones.

Thanks to the Hospice’s amazing and extended Team Arthur family, outstanding care continues to be delivered to those who need it from the Hospice’s facilities (Shelford Bottom, Cambridge and the Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre, Wisbech) and within homes throughout Cambridgeshire and the Fens.

None of what is happening now would be possible without the dedication, commitment and generosity of the local community, who passionately support the Hospice to fundraise £3.98 million each year, which together with the contracted funding from the CCG enables it to deliver its full range of services.

Initial financial forecasts have identified that the Hospice will lose at least £700,000 of potential income over the next six months. This is due to scores of fundraising events and personal challenges having to be cancelled; the closure of the Hospice’s charity shops and Bistro; and the cancellation of training and conference events which were due to take place in it’s Education and Conference Centre.  There are also the hidden costs, such as the immeasurable cost of many of the Hospice’s dedicated volunteers being in isolation and therefore unable to fulfil their roles supporting clinical colleagues.

Sharon Allen, CEO of Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, explains the urgency of the Hospice’s SOS:

“Never would we have anticipated something like COVID-19 and how this would affect us all in the way that it has.  The adverse circumstances in which we find ourselves seem to change hour by hour, whilst the admiration I have for each of my colleagues grows every day, as they constantly adjust, evolve and innovate. 

Whether it is the fundraiser who is being redeployed to work as a Healthcare Assistant, a Ward Sister recording a video to appeal for protective gloves and masks, or the facilities team putting new infection control measures in place… they have all been incredible.

We need to ensure that we can carry on delivering essential care and services now, whilst also ensuring that services remain sustainable into the future. We truly hope that the people of Cambridgeshire will answer our SOS!! Please continue your financial support so that we can continue to provide essential services to our patients. Together we will get through this, because we are #TeamArthur !”

To find out more about, or donate to, Arthur Rank Hospice Charity’s ‘SOS!! Support Our Services’ appeal, please visit https://arhc.enthuse.com/cf/sos-support-our-services

If you would like to send a message of support (or colourful poster created by your family!) to the Arthur Rank Hospice front-line team, please visit our news pages to discover about our  #HospiceHeroes ‘online notice board’ on Padlet.