Bereavement Teams From Ashgate Hospice Care Support NHS Staff At Chesterfield Royal During COVID-19 Crisis

Ashgate Hospicecare, based in North Derbyshire, is now delivering support sessions for NHS teams at Chesterfield Royal hospital who are working with COVID-19 patients. This is designed to prevent trauma in staff both right now, and in the years to come as they process their coronavirus experiences.

Four members of the Ashgate Hospicecare bereavement team travel to the hospital, four times a week, to offer their support. The confidential group sessions offer NHS staff a safe place to talk openly about their anxieties, concerns and experiences in a supportive way.

Ashgate are experts in providing bereavement counselling and support – both to their own teams and to friends and families of patients at the hospice. Staff receiving supportive care will also be offered access to the hospice’s ‘wobble room’ which was set up for hospice staff who need and can go for a wobble, pause and recharge or be supported to pause, recharge and move on.

Arlene Honeyman, Head of Supportive Care at Ashgate Hospicecare, says: “Even for our hospice teams, who are used to looking after end of care patients, we’ve had to provide wobble rooms where they can go and have a moment and get support. There’s all sorts of issues coming into play – providing end of life care while wearing PPE, patients not being able to have the same number of visitors they normally would, worry about their own health and loved ones back home – so emotional support is vital.

“NHS teams and hospice teams aren’t superhuman, they need care and support like anyone else. And for the staff at Chesterfield Royal many haven’t had to look after so many end of life patients in such a short space of time. We are so pleased to be supporting our colleagues at Chesterfield Royal Hospital. Our aim is to take Ashgate ‘care and compassion’ to those who are working in this challenging environment.

“We are so impressed with the commitment and care they offer and will do whatever we can to support them to continue and stay well themselves.”

Susan Hawkins, Ward Sister at Chesterfield Royal has been receiving supportive care from Ashgate Hospicecare along with a lot of her team. She said: “Both myself and members of the team feel the support service provided by Ashgate Hospicecare has been brilliant, being able to express ourselves about the issues we’ve been facing in a calm environment and not be judged. We have all felt relieved that we’re able to unload our thoughts and anxieties during this extremely difficult time.

“To go from where we usually work on the Urology department to go completely out of our comfort zone and away from our speciality has been really frightening and challenging. To have that extra support and for someone to come in and say it’s alright to talk and listen with empathy, it has been really beneficial to all of us.”