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“This year has been my first at Eden Valley Hospice and what a year it has been.” Jenny Wilson

This March marked the first anniversary of the nationwide lockdown and implementation of the Covid-19 restrictions. Over the last 12 months, the care at Eden Valley Hospice and Jigsaw has adapted and changed as we continued to care for local people with life limiting illnesses. Jenny Wilson, Head of Clinical Services at the hospice explains,

“To support continued high quality care for patients, despite significant staff sickness and to protect the most vulnerable service users, the decision was initially made to suspend face to face Jigsaw and Day Hospice services. All clinical staff were asked to work on the Adult In-Patient Unit to support ongoing care.

“I have been so impressed by the professionalism, flexibility and hard work of all the team over the last year and I am proud to be part of the team. We are all looking forward to expanding the work of Jigsaw and services offered by Day Hospice as we move through 2021.

“This year has been my first at Eden Valley Hospice and what a year it has been. The challenges presented to all health care providers are unprecedented and have required all providing care, particularly End of Life care, to balance infection control measures against protecting the human rights of vulnerable patients and their families.

“The visiting restrictions and need to wear surgical masks during patient interactions have challenged staff in many ways but have also resulted in imaginative and creative responses and initiatives.

“The support of the local community throughout the Covid-19 pandemic has been outstanding. They have helped in numerous ways, including making multiple sets of scrubs to wear for patient care, the donations of gloves and face masks etc. Equally the demonstration of their support week after week with public clapping has lead to tears for many staff, including myself.

“There are many moments that have stood out for me in the last 12 months, including staff agreeing, almost overnight, to a change in their shift pattern in order to maintain clinical cover for the In-Patient Unit.

“The look of joy on the faces of the Jigsaw staff when we re-opened to our first respite care after three months of suspended service. The smile of a child who was using the newly installed wheelchair swing in the Jigsaw garden. The support staff gave a patient to do her hair and make-up before she had a Zoom call with her son. The sadness of having to restrict visiting.

“These memories are both positive and negative, but we have always tried as a team to keep the needs of those we care for at the heart of every decision we make.”

Over the last 12 months, the kindness, generosity and support of the local community has been truly overwhelming. The support of local people has helped Eden Valley Hospice and Jigsaw every day to care for and support people when they need the hospice the most. From supporting Don Marks’ Protect Your Local Hospice Campaign to taking part in your own fundraising challenge, you have made a difference.