Not for Profit

Virtual day hospice launched to fight loneliness and support patients with life-limiting illnesses

By Staff Reporter [email protected]

Published: March 16, 2021 | Updated: 18th March 2021

A Virtual Day Hospice service is allowing Lewis-Manning Hospice Care to provide expert palliative advice and support during lockdown to adults living with a life limiting illness.

The new service was introduced in response to the restrictions of Covid-19.

It aims to offer patients with life-limiting illnesses a chance to connect with each other and the hospice’s clinical nursing team and fight loneliness.

The service has been made possible by a generous grant from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund.

Mandy Harris, Senior Day Hospice Nurse, said: “As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect so many aspects of our lives, we have had to temporarily close our Day Hospice to ensure the safety of our patients, while continuing to support them at home.

“However, launching the Virtual Day Hospice is one of the platforms allowing us to continue to provide expert palliative advice and essential support to adults in East Dorset and Purbeck who are living with a life-limiting illness.

“So many of our patients feel socially isolated at this time, so we aim to provide much-needed social interaction for those people who are shielding at home.

“The purpose of these sessions is to promote a sense of wellbeing and a positive approach to living with a life-limiting illness, as well as to alleviate the feeling of loneliness that patients may be experiencing and giving clinical advice and support.”

The online programme includes a diverse mix of activities:

  • Access to a team of experts specialising in palliative and holistic care
  • An opportunity for a private one-to-one consultation with a member of the nursing team
  • Gentle exercise
  • Mindfulness and relaxation sessions
  • A chance for peer support through socialising, allowing patients to be connected with other people with life-limiting illnesses
  • Fun interactive activities such as quizzes, art and poetry
  • Diversionary therapy
  • Guest speakers

The Virtual Day Hospice is via group and one-to-one video sessions.

Spaces are limited to allow maximum benefit for all participants.

Sessions are hosted by Day Hospice staff with guest speakers and professionals attending during drop-in sessions.

Patients are part of a ten-week programme initially, which is subsequently reviewed to meet patient needs and offer the support required.

There are also drop-in sessions on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, between 2pm-3.30pm.

Mandy, pictured left, said: “We are incredibly fortunate to have received funding for this project and it has allowed us to purchase tablets to ensure that all of our patients will have access to this service.

“All patients have been issued with a comprehensive tablet IT user guide, with clinical staff and volunteers delivering these to their homes and on hand to guide and support with usage.

“We want to say a huge thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund for making this funding possible.

“Even when restrictions ease and patients are able to come back into the hospice, this service will continue in order that patients have more choice and can continue to access support in the comfort of their own home.”

  • Do you know someone with a life limiting illness who would benefit from the unique closer to home service? Please contact Lewis-Manning Hospice Care which will be able to help. Click here or call 01202 708470 and ask for the Day Hospice Team.

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