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June 24, 2020

Tynedale Hospice at home: An update

As soon as it became clear in February that the UK was heading into a deepening coronavirus crisis, the Harrison Foundation trustees were determined to help.

In early March, weeks before the lockdown was introduced, we offered to support local hospices doing vital work in the community, including Tynedale Hospice at Home.

We received the letter below from Mike Thornicroft, Tynedale Hospice at Home’s chief executive. Mike explains more about the services they are providing to help people through these very difficult weeks. He shares the story of one patient and his family whom they have supported.

The last few months have been unlike anything most of us have ever known so we’re pleased we’ve been able to help.

“Dear Harrison Foundation

“I wanted to update you about how the Harrison Foundation’s generous grant in March is helping local families through this very difficult time.  We are committed to keeping all of our services running and are grateful for your grant as we do our utmost to support local people and families in coming weeks and months.

“We  are supporting some of the most vulnerable older people through our home-based palliative care, delivered by our Registered Nurses (RGNs).

“We are continuing to provide pre and post bereavement and emotional support via telephone and video links to maintain this vital service to children and bereaved parents. Our Family Practitioners work very closely with the whole family and are currently supporting 17 adults each week

“Our patient transport service, delivered by volunteer drivers, continues to provide personalised, door-to-door travel for critical treatment appointments, often for many weeks, and for patients in rural locations without good transport links.  As more hospital appointments are starting to become available, our client numbers are increasing steadily.

“Thank you for supporting the Hospice’s work in the local community.”

End of Life Care during Coronavirus

In early April 2020, just as the pandemic lockdown was put in place, district nurses referred a patient to Tynedale Hospice at Home for end of life care.  The couple had no children, nor relatives living close by, and had been together for over 50 years.

The patient had continued to enjoy life taking regular trips away in their camper van. But when his condition deteriorated the referral to Tynedale Hospice was made and in April a Hospice Registered Nurse attended their home to do a full assessment.  Overnight care was discussed and agreed.

Hospice nurses have provided medical, practical, and emotional support to the patient and his family but COVID-19 is making it impossible to provide the same level of emotional comfort and connection.

As the pandemic places more stress on families losing a loved one, the Hospice’s Family Support Worker has been in regular contact with the patient’s family during this unexpectedly lengthy pre bereavement period.

It is at times like these that the Hospice is the only source of help and our staff are trained to offer both practical and emotional support for as long as is needed for all the family.



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