Coronavirus has drastically changed a lot about life but Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland is continuing to provide vital services to patients in need of palliative and end of life care.
In these desperately challenging times, Hospice at Home’s the hospice's heroic staff are ensuring the quality of care and support for local patients and families remains second to none.
Trainee Nursing Associate Emma Evans doesn't feel as though she is doing anything particularly special and says she's just doing her job.
But, she says, one of the hardest things in all this is the emotional barrier created by the protective equipment she and her colleagues are required to wear and by social distancing measures they must practise, where possible.
For many patients and families, Hospice at Home's nursing staff and volunteers are the only people they're seeing and emotional support is needed more than ever.
"Everybody we go to is so used to seeing our faces, seeing us smiling and seeing our facial expressions. Now we've got masks on it creates a massive barrier when you're trying to comfort somebody and you want to be that smiling face. You want them to know your face is matching the words your saying. They can only see our eyes.
"A lot of the time all you want to do is hug somebody. It's difficult because that is second nature to us, but the usual ways we would comfort somebody have had to change. We are limited on what we can do now and it's really tough. A husband or wife could be pouring their heart out to you about how they feel and how poorly their loved one is and all you want to do is grab them and make sure they know everything is okay and they've got people looking after them.
"Even though you are kitted out in all this protective equipment and they can't see you, you've got to make them feel as comfortable as you can."
Emma, a mum-of-two to nine-year-old Jessica and William, aged five, started her nursing course in March and is continuing her studies online, alongside her job and caring for her family.
She has felt very emotional, and found it hard to put into words, to see how others have recognised the work she and her colleagues, and all other key workers, are doing to keep the country safe and moving.
"There are a lot of people doing a lot of worthy jobs that we need," she says. "We don't feel like we are doing anything special. Recognition for doing your job is always lovely but you don't ever feel like you need or deserve it. We just carry on and do our job as best we can, the same as everybody else really."
Nursing staff will typically care for three patients a day in their homes, provide emotional support for their families and care for patients for a period of time to enable their family members to have time to themselves.
This article has been kindly reproduced with grateful thanks to Hospice at Home Carlisle and North Lakeland. The Hospice needs to raise 80 per cent of its annual running costs which equates to approximately £20,000 each week and this couldn’t be achieved without the kindness of the local community, businesses and organisations. The Hospice at Home service covers 1500 square miles from the Scottish Border to Stainmore and Allonby to Alston. The charity is vital and needs to raise over £20,000 each week to continue to provide this service.