We can never go back to how normal was but we can look to the future

Simone Sims leads the Hospice at Home team

Hospice at Home team leader Simone Sims - Credit: Saint Francis Hospice

I had only been in post as team leader for six months when the whole country was put into lockdown for the first time back in March.

Key workers were able to carry on so we could continue to provide the much needed care to the community. But things were far from normal.

The hospice is normally buzzing with activity and lots of people scuttling around being busy - this too changed, with a lot of the staff working from home and mainly clinical staff on site. Everyone seemed like a rabbit caught in the headlights. Things changed hour by hour and so did people’s emotions.

We had to immediately change the way we work within Hospice at Home. We limited staff within the office to ensure we adhered to social distancing by asking the team to go out from home. I felt very anxious. They are lone workers and I am aware how hard their role is so I like to check in with them individually.

Next came the increased PPE the team had to wear at all times - gloves, aprons, and masks. I had so many questions from the team regarding PPE and discussions around it being the exact opposite of what we normally do - no hand holding, no hugging families when you have given bad news and they are breaking down in front of you and generally feeling scared, scared of something they were unable to see.


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Throughout all of this, I noticed one major thing - everyone was doing their absolute best to continue to provide a service. All of the teams had been affected and everyone was pulling together and doing jobs they wouldn’t normally do, helping each other out without question.

Change happened daily and not only in work but in our home lives too. I was also trying to home-school my daughter and I now realise what a huge job the teachers have.

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I realised not only did I need to support the team but also my husband and daughter and I for sure needed to offload at some point.

The support for each other on-site and off-site has been amazing and everyone has had to quickly learn a new way of communicating and meeting via virtual platforms.

However, I do feel in the future we will all be affected, emotionally and mentally.

We can never go back to how normal was but we can look forward to the future and see a new normal and who knows, it may even be better than before.

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