There was a moment of joy this week as Skanda Vale Hospice re-opened its doors to in-patients after three long years.
The Hospice, which provides a nurse-led patient-centred service and offers 24-hour care for up to a week each month, was forced to close in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But, the dream of welcoming back in-patients finally became a reality on Tuesday, February 14.
Although day patients have been attending once a week since last year, the Hospice had been unable to reopen its overnight respite service because many of the volunteers needed to staff the service were unable to return following the pandemic.
“It is a great joy to be able to open again after three years and there is a very real sense of fulfilment that we have been able to recover and welcome back patients once again after Covid,” said Brother Jakob, the Hospice manager.
“I am very happy and excited that today has finally arrived and we all feel deeply fulfilled to finally be reopening and providing such a valuable and necessary service once again.
One of the biggest issues facing the Hospice ahead of the reopening was the rebuilding of the volunteer team after the three-year shutdown.
“Our volunteer team was shattered by the prolonged closure. People’s lives changed in many ways during that time so many were no longer available,” said Brother Jakob.
“To be able to build ourselves back up has been a truly beautiful thing.”
Although the Hospice closed to patients during the pandemic, the management team took the opportunity of the closure to carry out a full strategic review of the services they could offer.
“So much work has gone on behind the scenes during the shutdown and we are now reaping the rewards of all that unseen hard work,” said Brother Jakob.
“All that effort has been about achieving the goal of today when we have now been able to welcome back in-patients once again.
“As a volunteer-led organisation, we have not been defeated and we are now stronger and better than ever before.
“I am so happy to see the Hospice buzzing with energy again. We deal in life and death here – sometimes it can emotional, sometimes traumatic – but this is an incredibly vibrant place. It is filled with energy – it might sound strange, but this really is a beautiful place to be.”
Lead Nurse Kiera Jones was equally delighted to be welcoming in-patients back to the Hospice, where each patient enjoys a private room and 24-hour specialist care while their loved ones take some much-needed respite from supporting someone with a life-limiting illness.
“It’s so exciting to have this day finally arrive,” said Kiera. “It is really lovely to have the beds filled again after being closed for three years.
“Today is the culmination of a massive amount of hard work and effort. Without the dedication, determination and passion of our incredible team of volunteers, today would not have been possible and a huge amount of credit goes to them for making this happen.
“Today is a massive step forward for everyone here and a huge step closer to our ultimate goal of offering a full 24/7 service.
“If we are to sustain this service – and expand it to provide 24/7 care and support – we need to encourage even more people – nurses, carers, cooks, cleaners, and more – to volunteer their time and help us make this incredible, beautiful dream a reality.”
The Hospice provides full care and support to those with a life-limiting illness regardless of their beliefs or religion completely free of charge.
If you or a loved one could benefit from the free services offered by Skanda Vale Hospice, email email@example.com or telephone 01559 371222.
If you would like to volunteer at the Hospice – whatever the skills or time you think you can offer – email firstname.lastname@example.org.