How is PPE affecting our Hospice at Home nurses

Tuesday 14 April 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected us all in so many different ways, but how does it affecting what our Hospice at Home team do? Here one of our frontline nurses talks about how PPE and social distancing is impacting the way they work. We need your help to keep these amazing nurses on the road, please click here to donate any amount, big or small. 

"Today I talked to a family in full PPE explaining to them that Dad was now dying and what that process would involve and what to expect 

There were tears and heartache - there was denial and a gentle realisation that this was happening and soon 

There were kids around too who were scared and worried about masks and visors and nurses turning up like something out of the movies 

I couldn’t comfort them in the usual way we do I couldn’t get close to comfort them with a reassuring hand or a hug

 I sat 2 meters away shrouded in plastic- sweating with my visor steamed up and dripping in condensation - I felt like a freak 

They were amazing 

I talked openly and honestly with them about how as palliative care nurses this made us feel and felt myself apologising for the clinical way we were having to work and communicate with them at this most painful and difficult time 

So much of how we communicate these difficult conversations isn’t just the words we use - it’s the touch , the connection , the eye contact and facial messages we send 

We can’t do that shrouded in plastic 

Often families don’t always hear our words but they remember and hang onto the compassion we display and send through our eyes and our touch and contact 

A hug is massive and we can’t do that now 

They were amazing and reassured me that regardless of the PPE the compassion and support we could offer was so reassuring and comforting 

They told me that the information and communication I gave them was so reassuring and appreciated and the PPE wasn’t a barrier - they understood and were so grateful for the support and relieved for our services 

They accepted my crazy PPE with my wonky visor that was steaming up with condensation to the point that when I told them Dad was dying and this was going to be the process and expectations to look for that I could not actually see them clearly through the fog of my visor which was steamed up like a shower screen 

Not what I’m used to for these difficult and important discussions I wanted to rip that thing off and connect with them for my sake and theirs

The impact of how we practice is huge and is having a massive impact on the clinical team in terms of how we prepare ourselves for these  situations

 This was today and just the start"


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