At Hospice Calgary, we are providing essential healthcare services to those at the end of their life due to cancer, as well as mental health supports to individuals and families coping with advanced illness and grief. COVID-19 has not stopped our services; in fact, it has drastically increased some of our needs. At the same time, it has also decreased our revenue.
In order to keep patients, family members, and staff safe at Rosedale Hospice precautions have been taken to limit the chances of exposure to COVID-19. Staff are being asked to take 14 days sick leave if they are feeling at all ill, volunteers are no longer able to come into the building to help, family visitation has been limited to 1 person only, and children are no longer able to come into the hospice. Extra staffing is now needed at Rosedale Hospice to accommodate those out on sick leave and the volunteers we are no longer providing help with patient care, complementary therapies, reception, and several other roles. Staff are also spending much more time by our patient's bedside because of their decreased family visitors. In addition to the grief our patients are experiencing as a normal part of being in hospice they are also now grieving new losses such as the restrictions on their visitors and the knowledge that their friends/family outside of the hospice are hurting. Patient care and comfort at end-of-life remains to this day, the top priority for our staff, despite the increased costs associated with this.
Grief does not stop because of COVID-19. The impact of grief on the mental health of the children, teens, and adults we see also does not stop. Those who have relied on the Children's Grief Centre or Community Hospice Services for supports are now accessing counselling through telephone, text & chat online services, or confidential video platforms. Nearly every single client on our counsellor's caseloads has requested virtual support during this time. They have shared that the current situation only heightens anxieties and also brings forward their grief in new ways. To have someone available on the other end of a phone or video who knows their story and who is offering them compassion and understanding during this time is essential.
Donations to our COVID-19 Increased Program Needs fund will help immensely as Hospice Calgary continues to provide compassionate support to those who need us.