Tes Smith, director of quality and care at Saint Francis Hospice, talks about how the charity is restoring its services and heading towards "business as usual".

What a year it has been. As we move through this year and Boris’s roadmap out of lockdown, we are now able to start restoring and developing our services once more and move towards business as usual.

What does that mean? All our individual patient and carer services have been tasked with reviewing their service, process and delivery models so we may be confident in what we can deliver going forward.

This is hard as we know we want to keep in the good bits we have learned and adapted to over the past year and also remember some good bits we haven’t been able to do but which we may want to ensure we can do again.

We are starting to slowly open up our day services at Pemberton Place with a different service offer as we can’t safely have the old big groups.

But we can have some out-patient appointments and start very small groups and one-to-one therapy sessions. We can also integrate technology so groups can have people on and off site.

We are opening up our ward more and we have already moved to 16-bed capacity and will be back to full capacity of 18 beds, if safe, by mid-May.

Recently we have seen a ten year high of patient numbers through the ward as, although bed numbers were down, the number of people we are caring for has been higher than ever before.

Throughout this last year, our community nursing and therapy teams have seen month on month increases in referral numbers and increases in people and I sense this will continue.

These teams are looking at having options available for supporting people such as telephone, face-to-face and continued use of technology.

We know we have some grant funded services that will soon be out of funding.

We are concentrating on looking at future funding services as this year has again proved how vital our telephone helpline, Orangeline, our children’s bereavement service and our newest Covid bereavement service are to people and we need them to continue.

In looking at all the team plans, ideas and aspirations, I know full well people are tired and this past year has been exhausting.

I also know with the resilience we all have, we will keep moving forward to ensure we continue to be there for the people who need us now and into the future.