Lead Nurse Thanks Hospice Charity for Covid Contribution

The region’s Director of Nursing has praised a local hospice charity for its “phenomenal” contribution during the Covid pandemic.

Wendy Matthews OBE is Director of Nursing and Chief Midwifery Officer with NHSE England (East of England). Wendy was also recently appointed a future Trustee of Havens Hospices.

On Tuesday 14th September, Wendy spent the day at Havens Hospices. She spoke with nursing staff for both the adult service at Fair Havens in Southend and for children and young people at Little Havens in Thundersley. Care Team members from the charity’s Hospice at Home Teams also met Wendy to discuss their role in the community.

After meeting patients staying at or visiting the hospices, Wendy addressed the charity’s nursing staff to talk about the effects of the pandemic and the importance of all healthcare services – charitable and NHS – working together. She said, “Covid has presented huge opportunities for the hospice sector. People are now talking about dying, palliative care and bereavement – what sort of experience do we want at the end of our life?

“Hospices are the experts at this, and I would encourage healthcare professionals working in busy acute wards to spend time with a hospice like Fair Havens or Little Havens. It’s challenging to get people through the doors of hospices because of the perception attached to them, but it’s a truly unique experience – a different pace, different pressures but still ensuring the patient is the focus of everything we do, which excites me.”

Wendy will be voted in as Trustee at the Havens Hospices AGM in November. She said, “One of my priorities will be working to get hospice nursing staff the same education and development opportunities as colleagues in the NHS. I’m excited about the use of technology in healthcare too, but ensuring that we do not lose sight of that physical and personal care we can give people too.”

Ellie Miller is the Director of Care and Executive Nurse at Havens Hospices. She speaks with Wendy on a regular basis about the challenges and achievements of adult and children’s nursing at Havens Hospices.

Ellie says, “It was a great honour to welcome Wendy to Havens Hospices. Palliative nursing – whether within the hospice or a patient’s own homes – is highly complex and unique. It’s important to have advocates of integrated care like Wendy as part of Havens Hospices. Together, we can raise the profile of how hospices work alongside other healthcare providers to help patients and families living with complex or incurable conditions.”

Havens Hospices includes Fair Havens for adults in Southend, Castle Point and Rochford, and Little Havens and The J’s for children and young people across Essex. This palliative nursing and supportive care can be provided within the hospice building or in patient’s own homes, empowering families to choose their place of care.

All of this is provided completely free of charge, thanks to the kind generosity of local people making donations, taking part in events and leaving gifts in their Wills.

To find out more about the care of Havens Hospices, or how to support this, follow the charity on social media @HavensHospices

Published 16th September 2021

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