The National Council for Voluntary Organisations estimates that charities are set to lose at least £4.3 billion over the next 12 months. This is an incredibly difficult time for many in our country, but what impact is COVID-19 having on hospices specifically?
Hospices are supporting people who are nearing the end of life in their homes, in the community and in-patient units across the country, alleviating pressure on the NHS at this most crucial time.
However, they are themselves struggling amid the coronavirus crisis. Having been hit hard by the effects of the pandemic, most are struggling to continue their services. A children’s hospice in the South East was forced to close one of their two hospices recently. A London-based adult hospice has a patient with COVID-19 but is running short of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); they are desperately doing what they can do get hold of some. The shortages are so extreme that some are having to make do with home-made masks. Although PPE is critical to protect staff and volunteers from the contagion, hospices are low on many more types of essential supplies, from cleaning equipment to thermometers.
A hospice in the South West has issued an urgent plea for volunteers to help with tasks such as catering, cleaning, reception and gardening, as current volunteers and staff fall sick or need to self-isolate. Day hospice and day services, as well as bereavement care, are being suspended.
Additionally, hospices are facing significant downturns in their income with many CEOs leading their hospices through emergency appeals for the first time in their history. Donations have slowed down or stopped and they have had to close their entire retail operations. They have tough decisions to make but still have care to provide to those who are at the end of life.
With so many people having been affected either personally or professionally, those who are in a position to support are being asked to come to the aid of their local hospice. So, what can you do to help?
If you are able and would like to help your local hospice, please have a look at their website for details of their fundraising appeal. Or, you may be able to volunteer to enable the hospice to continue to run their vital service. Without our support hospices will not survive.