Lockdown spiritual care and bereavement support at Bolton Hospice
Published to Other News on May 26, 2020
John Hall is the Spiritual Care and Bereavement Support Lead at Bolton Hospice. In this article he writes about how his role has changed during lockdown.
"Like everyone lockdown has changed the way I live my life including my role as spiritual care and bereavement support lead at the hospice.
The face to face bereavement groups I ran have been temporarily suspended and visiting on the ward requires me to wear scrubs and personal protective equipment that covers my face, which can be challenging because my role is all about making connections and building relationships with people.
I decided to set up a WhatsApp bereavement group during lockdown to make sure I was still available for families. A group of us take part in sharing photos, videos, struggles and joys during this unusual time. I post a photo of the day on it every day, this can be anything from sunsets, coastline, to a cup of tea or ducks walking on a footpath. Face to face bereavement support is now offered either over the phone or by video call, which has been great to stay connected to our families and continue to provide vital support.
General visiting on the inpatient unit is challenging due to the protective clothing we all need to use so I will visit specifically referred patients and speak extra clearly through the face mask so that patients can hear what I’m saying. Supporting families can be done by using social distancing in other parts of the hospice. It has also been important to support staff as this has been a very distressing and upsetting time, particularly following the death of one of our nurses.
Since lockdown I have been taking a day’s leave each week which gives a greater balance to my home and work lifestyle. It has been humbling to see how staff have shown such strength, supporting one another through a very difficult time and continuing to think of new innovative ways to work during the crisis to maintain the high standards of care and compassion."
If you have any questions about spiritual care or bereavement support, please call us on 01204 663 066.