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. These precautions have greatly increased our staffing needs. Extra staffing is now needed to accommodate those out on sick leave and the volunteers who are no longer able to come on-site. 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 Living with Advanced Illness Centre for supports are now accessing counselling through telephone, in-person sessions, or confidential video platforms. These clients have shared that the current situation 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 received during this time will help immensely as Hospice Calgary continues to provide compassionate support to those who need us.