LIFE DURING LOCKDOWN: Perspective from South Coast Hospice

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Diane van Dyk, CEO of South Coast Hospice

Life during the Lockdown has certainly exposed and shone a light into all facets of our Hospice. The one thing each of us have come to realise is that life as we knew it, has changed forever.

From a leadership perspective I am aware of the fact that we are in unchartered waters. The administrative team and myself are faced daily with the reality of sustainability and the responsibility to navigate ourselves through new procedures, laws, policies and to re-engineer our old ‘tried and tested’ methods of fundraising.

Agile and open-minded thinking is required to traverse areas unknown, and words like ‘virtual events’, ‘non-events’, social media platforms, a myriad of apps and countless webinars are now the order of the day.

This has occurred in a small space of time where strategic planning, goal setting and grant writing targets have fallen by the wayside and there is an urgency to learn and create a new world and path.

For the patients and the clinical teams, the core value of providing quality Palliative Care and support remain firmly entrenched. There are added pressures that have made life more complicated and have added to the burden of care.

A progressive terminal illness comes with its own stress and for some not seeing family members makes for a very lonely time. Some patients feel that the Covid-19 virus has pushed its way to the front of the queue and hospital visits and procedures have had to wait in most cases.  For some patients there has been no time to wait.

Dying like the birthing process surpasses the trials and tribulations of the outside world.  As always, we stand on this frontline with other Hospices and are privileged to be part of this final journey.

The psychosocial team, through visits and other communications methods, are reaching out to their clients in new and creative ways. The expression of grief and trauma through journal writing, art and collage scrapbooking are a few of the techniques that are used.

The personal visit and the ability to listen all be it over the phone provides much-needed care and support at this time. Many grieving family members feel a double loss when they cannot take part in their everyday activities.  The Hospice team that visit are a welcome sight and a link to the outside world.

All Hospice people love to hug, so from South Coast Hospice, we sent out a massive virtual hug to all Hospices across the world.

Keep the faith and stay safe!

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Diane van Dyk.

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