Hospice Care Week - Martlets shows it has what it takes to keep caring

Martlets has kept caring for patients at the hospice and in the community of Brighton and Hove and the Havens throughout the COVID-19 pandemic providing a vital connection for patients living with life-limiting conditions and their loved ones.

Martlets is one of more than 200 charitable hospices across the UK taking part in Hospice Care Week (October 5-11),led by the national hospice and end of life care charity, Hospice UK, highlighting what it takes to provide care to those who need it most.

This year, hospices like Martlets have had to change service delivery overnight and find new ways to raise funds. Hospice UK estimates that since the COVID crisis begin in March, collectively hospices have lost in the region of £70 million in fundraised income for vital services that local people rely on to live life to the fullest.

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Martlets’ outpatient Jackie Smith has seen first hand how swiftly Martlets has adapted. Jackie has multiple sclerosis (MS) and first came to Martlets about five years ago for a couple of weeks of respite care in the inpatient unit.

She said: “I have multiple sclerosis (MS) and got a lot of benefit from the rehabilitation team and did some seated yoga. I was keen to continue with it as it really helped my wellbeing. But then of course coronavirus happened, and we all went into lockdown. As I have MS I’m in the vulnerable group and have had to stay at home and shield.

"I was missing the classes so much, so I was thrilled when I got a call from Ann who organises the sessions. She said they were going to try the yoga using Zoom video software and did I want to try. I said ‘absolutely I do’ . To begin with I couldn’t get the Zoom links to work and it was frustrating. But I was determined I wasn’t going to give up on it. The yoga teacher said she’d do a private session with me to help get me using Zoom. I also got some help and support from Martlets on using it. Eventually I clicked on a link for a meditation class and it worked!

"Now it’s easy to use Zoom and I do tai chi, yoga, meditation and breathing relaxation classes via this way. The team at Martlets are so friendly and I still feel like I’m being looked after even though I’m not going into the Hospice. I just want things to start getting back to normal, but this has helped so much. I feel part of a community and the Zoom classes give me something to look forward to.

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"I have more help from Martlets than I’ve got from anywhere, it just makes such a difference to me.”

Imelda Glackin, Martlets chief executive said: “We hope this Hospice Care Week will help to raise important awareness of the vital role hospices undertake to support people in our community with life-limiting conditions. Hospices are frontline healthcare providers and our committed hard-working doctors, nurses, health and social care teams are delivering essential care to our community day and night, helping those with life-limiting illnesses, and their families, cope with the impact of their disease. This doesn’t stop because of COVID-19.

“We are supporting our local hospitals with our expert care and providing bed space for patients at our hospice as well as giving 24-hour help to patients and loved ones in their own homes which includes Care homes At Martlets we want patients and their families to feel hope, purpose and possibility and to make the most of the precious time they have, now more than ever. “

Martlets provides care for people who are over 18 and live in Brighton and Hove, the Deans or the Havens. The team provide care, compassion and support for people life-limiting illnesses including terminal cancer, motor neurone disease (MND), Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and heart disease.

To find out more and support Martlets’ work please visit www.martlets.org.uk