ADAPTING to new rules and regulations has been a challenge for us all in 2020.
But for the Marie Curie Hospice in Solihull the constant changes have been challenging for the whole team.
Up until March 13 many of the services at the Marsh Lane hospice from end of life care to support for children and everything in between were face to face or at a person’s home.
But when Covid-19 struck and restrictions came in things very quickly changed to a phone service.
The support groups for loved ones had to be cancelled at the hospice including the Daffodil choir and Men’s Shed groups.
Jane Murray, the hospice’s adult bereavement support and counselling lead, said: “The volunteer team were left feeling a sense of guilt and responsibility for their clients who they would not be able to see in person. all planned appointments with clients were cancelled and rearranged as telephone support.
“Not only did our in-person client support sessions have to stop – but also our fortnightly walk and talk group, our monthly social group for people who are bereaved and our weekly Daffodil choir.
“Whilst our client service was able very quickly to adapt to telephone support – our groups all these months later have not been able to resume.”
The Men’s Shed group is one of those which has yet to restart – the group is dedicated to support men with a diagnosis or loss.
Without the group Mike Weale said there was a void in his life.
“Monthly meetings and walks with my bereavement group became an integral part of my routine when I lost my wife four years ago,” he said.
“They gave me something to keep me going.
“What has helped most is keeping busy. Things like working in the garden and spending time constructing model railway wagons and buildings. When doing these activities, I can forget the worries of the world.
“I miss the lifestyle I had before but with these activities and my new routine, I can keep going without getting too downhearted.”
The running of the hospice has also had to change.
Most jobs are now carried out with staff wearing Personal Protective Equipmemt (PPE).
For Christine Elsey, housekeeping team lead, there’s additional cleaning and working in PPE.
She said: “At times it has been difficult emotionally and psychologically so I’m grateful I can continue to come to work where others have not.
“Thank you to all my colleagues throughout Marie Curie who have their own challenges – it’s a pleasure to be in their company.
“Next year sometime it would be lovely to be able to remove our masks and see our smiles.”
The Marsh Lane hospice funds have also been severely impacted by the pandemic.
The hospice relies on donations to cover the £11,313 needed everyday to run its services.
All the shops had to close, the bistro was closed to the public and all events cancelled.
Some fundraisers did manage to help from climbing mountains on their stairs at home and others, like Dave Young, set up a static bike in the front garden to complete a 3,000km ride for the hospice.
But it hasn’t all been doom and gloom.
Staff and patients celebrated VE Day on May 8, there was a street party atmosphere and the hospice was painted red, white and blue and Winston Churchill’s speech along with music from the era was played for all the enjoy.
For some, like John who was in the Navy, he dressed in his finest complete with medals and remembered his comrades and a different time when the nation came together to fight a common enemy.
For more or to donate to the hospice visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/