Extra pressure on hospice staff caused by pandemic

Housekeeping supervisor Mary-Ann Golding

Housekeeping supervisor Mary-Ann Golding. - Credit: Sue Ryder

Keeping a hospice clean to protect the patients is clearly a key issue - but the coronavirus crisis has added to pressures on staff at the Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice.

Mary-Ann Golding, housekeeping superviso r at St John's, says the pandemic has had a “huge impact” on the hospice, near St Neots, and how the team is battling on to do all it can for the patients and to keep the unit running smoothly.

She said: “Since the pandemic we have had a lot of extra work to do, It was very stressful at the beginning because it was the unknown.

“The biggest challenge has been that we have had to change the way we work - everything has to be documented and we are constantly on the go to keep the hospice safe for everyone.

“We have always worn aprons and gloves and we’re used to that. The only thing that has changed for us is the masks. Some people find them really hard to breathe in and I’m allergic to them, unfortunately. I get blisters on my face, but I’m wearing a mask to protect our patients."

“Support from each other has really helped keep us all going. My team have become so close. We are all in the same situation and it has brought us together. And at the end of the day we’re here for our patients.”

Mary-Ann said she was very proud of the expert palliative care provided by the hospice:

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“People get such amazing care here. The hospice is warm and caring. If I had a family member who I could not look after then I know this would be the best place for them. The care is from the heart here.”

But she is worried about the impact the pandemic could have on Sue Ryder, the charity which runs St John’s, which had to launch extra fundraising campaigns to help cover a £2 million a month shortfall in funding.

Mary-Ann said: “Our patients need this care. If it was not for the care provided here I don’t know where they would be. Being on the inside I see the care that is given to the patients and the difference that each donation makes. I see the amazing care the nurses give with such compassion.”