Pandemic brings new approach for the future at Prospect Hospice

January 2021


If you’re running a hospice during a pandemic, what do you do when most of your patients, their loved ones and others in the community can’t come into your hospice building anymore? Simple, say the end-of-life care specialists at Prospect Hospice. You take the hospice out into the community instead…

Until March 2020, one of the benefits that many Prospect Hospice patients appreciated was the Day Therapy Service. Patients were offered a 16-week programme of activities twice a week at the hospice, which ranged from rehabilitation and physiotherapy to courses of how to manage symptoms such as stress, fatigue and breathlessness.

It was also, says day therapy service lead Zoe O’Reilly, a chance for patients to have some social time with people facing similar challenges to the ones they faced.

“The programmes we run are centred around the individual patient, understanding their goals and helping them achieve those,” says Zoe.

“We also ran a drop-in coffee session once a month for patients, carers and families to pop in for a chat, which was also popular.”

But when the Covid pandemic hit, the day therapy centre had to close, and staff had to work out ways of delivering the support and education that these vulnerable patients needed.

“Initially, we kept in touch with the patients who used day therapy by phone, and also via our clinical nurse specialists who see patients in their own homes,” says Zoe.

“But soon we launched a fatigue and breathlessness helpline, which took referrals from the clinical nurse specialists, and our therapy team (who already saw patients in their own homes) so we could bring the fatigue and breathless services directly to patients.”

Zoe says the sudden need to take services out of the Prospect Hospice building has helped practitioners adopt a new approach for the future.

“We’ve had a mixed response to delivering therapy virtually – some patients are all for it, while others are not comfortable – so we are now looking at how we can take more of our services out into the community, rather than focusing on holding them in our base in Wroughton.

“When we have completed the redesign of our services we hope to be able to run courses such as stress management or family therapy far closer to where people live, perhaps in local community centres, for example.”

Back to News