Coronavirus: How to care for the dying and the terminally ill – BBC Newsnight

published on July 26, 2020

Entering this phase in your life is difficult enough isn't it contemplating your death and saying goodbyes and making preparations but doing that in a planned emic when you're separated with from your family yeah as humans we grieve in groups and we prepared for

Death in groups and we support each other in groups and actually now people unable to do that death in this country is so often to boo a shadow in the distance from which we

Avert a collective gaze those who work at the Princess Alice Hospice in Surrey and the 260 other hospices in Britain walk into that shadow head-on day after day this hospital own helps a thousand people in its community as well

As its residents every aspect of its work has been touched by kovat 19 may this is Paula one of our health care assistants at Princess Alice hospice just gowning up to go into one of our patients so she can see she has gown

Apron with gloves face mask and she's going to be putting on goggles this is really not the way that we are used to dealing with our patients at Princess Alice hospice Princess Alice has experienced a corona virus outbreak like

Care Homes once it's in it's a risk to patients and staff alike but the challenges here dealing with people dying their families and those precious end-of-life names are unique as humans we grieve in groups and we prepared for

Death in groups and we support each other in groups and actually now people are unable to do that so it's about how we create connections and actually support people to feel connected to the person that's dying although they're not

Physically here and how do you do that often through it could be special objects letters an example last week I had a gentleman he was dying his grandson wrote him a letter and I went in in PPE and read that letter to him

The man that was dying and told him that his family were thinking about him that they loved him and they were sorry they couldn't be here how did that older gentleman take that he was unconscious I don't know if he could hear me but I

Spoke to him and I told him his family loved him Sylvia and Alice's husband and father Justin is a patient at the hospital he has brain cancer a few weeks ago he contracted kovin 19 normally the

Hospice would surround him with family friends to make this time as precious as it can be longer we feel acutely that we can't actually see them anymore and he can only see us with masks and gowns and

Know that that's no substitute for you know facial expressions and yeah it's changed how we interact with him a little yes it has you feel quite distanced from him what's it like having to sort of communicate with him through

Masks hard yeah it's difficult yeah what's it like having to tell either a patient or a family member that they can't see their relative or they come they have to sleep in a circumscribed way yeah really difficult

Yeah that's probably been yeah not only for me I think for the team they've really struggled because they're fearful in where they don't want them to come in but they also want to connect people because that's what we do you know we

Put arms not an inpatient but around families so it's it's been difficult dealing with the virus has been very difficult and I'd lost my resilience for a night before I knew eyes have to go in and work with the patients but when I

Was in there just remember cleaning patients teeth and I'm thanking me and opening the door into the gardens that he could see out into the sunshine Dena is one of those patients dying but who has had Co bid 19 receiving that sort of

Care the disease has placed immense bewilder instra those already at a point in life beyond the imaginings of most of us because of coronavirus in what way didn't you feel like a human being

Well now I can pull through this leave don't leave yourself oh I can't eat and you have to be ventilators that must have been really unpleasant thank you and that's been quite scarce it was did you talk about that we did talk about

That at the time did you think you were going to die hello Jake this is one of our staff nurses and behind the door in our isolated patients room the calculation of risk here is different to care homes hospice management must

Balance the danger of transmission to family and staff alongside the horror of patients dying alone and the mental scars of those left behind protective equipment can help but this nearly forgotten part of our care

Infrastructure is struggling for supply you know we're a charity and we only get 20% funding from the NHS so if we were to upscale and we could and expand here we that would need to be backed up with resources are not just money and we

Would need staff and most importantly we need PPE because that is the sort of limiting factor here I mean we wouldn't have got through the last few weeks we wouldn't have beds open I wouldn't be admitting patients with kovat if it

Wasn't for the community they have kept us supplied with PPE they have rallied around they are making us gowns as we speak and scrubs and raiding labs and schools and dentistry and laboratories and I find that really shocking in this

Day and age we've had one emergency supplies 17 days after our break and we don't know when the next month coming Hospice's are being asked to pick up so much slack the government has pledged

More direct support and money but they'll still have a fraction of the resources and thought devoted to the Health Service these remarkable people specialize in helping those on their journey to death in this pandemic

Especially if it lingers we will need what they know what they do more than ever that ultimate taboo cannot stand why are you hoping for now dinner and instead be out for three weeks hoping to study up tomorrow

Little by little right though the girls you had to make a friend thunder

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