St Elizabeth Hospice Goes Blue to mark the Year of the Nurse

Sarah Empsom of St Elizabeth Hospice

St Elizabeth Hospice has marked the first-ever Year of the Nurse celebration in style by encouraging staff and patient relatives to wear items of blue clothing to say ‘thank you’ to key workers around the world.

From dresses and skirts through to shirts and even PPE masks, a sea of blue could be seen throughout July in the Ipswich based hospice and in the homes of its staff and relatives whose loved ones are cared for by the charity.

As well as showing their gratitude by wearing items of blue, families have shared their messages of thanks on social media and via testimonials sent to the hospice.

Including Philip Mann whose wife Audreywas cared for by St Elizabeth Hospice. Philip said:

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“The amazing care from the hospice team, who visited every morning and evening, gave Audrey the dignity and love she needed to feel as comfortable as possible in her last few days.

“You were all such an encouragement to us, thank you. We, in turn, would like to encourage you, and cheer you on in the greet work you are doing.”

As well as the wearing of blue, donations were also made to St Elizabeth Hospice’s #HereTogether campaign, an appeal launched by the hospice to counteract the financial impact of Coronavirus on the charity. After lockdown saw the closure of all its 31 retail shops and postponing of all fundraising activities which are vital income sources needed to support the provision of its end of life care and bereavement services.

 “This year more than ever is a year to celebrate the fantastic work of all healthcare professionals,” explained Hannah Bloom, Director of Income Generation at St Elizabeth Hospice.

“The outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic has shone the spotlight on the great work of nurses across the globe and the Year of the Nurse initiative is a timely opportunity to unite and celebrate these individuals.

“It has been so nice to see staff and the families of patients coming together to share their messages of thanks and to wear blue in support of our key workers and it has also been an opportunity to showcase the importance of our #HereTogether appeal which is proving to be a great support to the hospice during lockdown.”

Last year, the hospice cared for more than 3,000 Suffolk patients and their families at a cost of £10.5m, of which 75% was raised by the community through St Elizabeth Hospice’s retail shops and local fundraising activities which are now impossible due to social distancing and self-isolation.

The clinical staff at St Elizabeth are working in partnership with the NHS and other partners at speed to significantly expand services both in the community and at the hospice in response to Coronavirus, whilst continuing to care for patients with non-Covid end of life and palliative care needs.

A new rapid response co-ordination centre has also been created to cope with the increase in demand for clinical advice and end of life care in the community, doubling the capacity of the hospices existing OneCall telephone advice helpline.

Sarah Empson, Health Care Assistant Nurses at St Elizabeth Hospice, added: “Year of the Nurse gives us recognition for all the team’s work and it feels like we’re one big community together. It’s so rewarding helping families and patients get through their difficult times and making their lives better.

“The most memorable moments on the job have been getting a patient ready for their wedding day and helping to organise a princess party for a patient’s daughter. It’s those little things that can make their day.”

St Elizabeth Hospice is an independent Suffolk charity providing free services to improve life for people living with a progressive or life limiting illness. Centered on an individual’s needs, the hospice provides specialist support, whenever and wherever it is needed, whether at home, in the community or at the hospice.

To donate towards St Elizabeth hospice’s #HereTogether campaign visit the Just Giving page or to find out more call 01473 727776 or visit www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk.

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