Staying connected in the midst of a global pandemic is vital for our patients and their loved ones, especially when days are finite. Ever mindful of this in these more disconnected times, the Nurses on our In-Patient Ward put their heads together, and the beautiful ‘Tokens of Care’ idea was born.
Like many, the current COVID-19 pandemic has meant our nursing team has had to adapt to a fast-changing landscape and many new ways of working. But, one of the hardest and most heart-breaking decisions for the Charity in mid-April, was restricting family members and friends from visiting their loved ones at the Hospice.
Following Public Health England and Government guidelines to ensure the safety of patients, staff and volunteers, we have been unable to allow any visitors to the Hospice without advance express permission. Visiting restrictions are being discussed with each patient prior to admission, with the aim being to minimise visitors, not eliminate.
This is not a situation we ever wished to find ourselves in, especially when it is so heart-breaking that a family member may not be able to say a final goodbye in the usual way.
Tokens of Care
One of our supporters, Christine Kalus, has created hundreds of resin hearts in varying different colours and patterns, which are given as a pair – both chosen by the patient, with an identical one given to a nominated family member when someone is approaching death at home or in the Hospice.
These beautifully crafted hearts symbolise the importance of connections in a disconnected world when social distancing is forcing so many people and their loved ones apart. They symbolise the holding of people in our hearts.
When asked why she wanted to be a part of the ‘Tokens of Care’ initiative, Christine said, “I have always had an enduring and committed relationship with Rowans Hospice and their services since its inception in the late 1980s. I made the hearts in recognition of, and respect for, patients and families who are currently enduring such terrible times. The hearts symbolise a moment of calm in the eye of this terrible storm.”
Christine hopes the hearts contribute to the making and maintaining of continued bonds within families facing a prolonged period of uncertainty and emotional turmoil.
At a time when strength and care is most needed, both the patient and their family member can hold their token near and draw comfort in knowing that the other is holding one too.
Wanting to support the initiative and add to our Tokens of Care package, Interim Director of Finance at Rowans Hospice, Georgina Challacombe – who runs her craft business ‘The Fussy Fox’ in her spare time – has also been hand-crafting resin hearts, butterflies and stars.
Cards to Reassure Loved Ones
Completing the ‘Token of Care’, cards are also given to the family members alongside their token, both to explain the concept and to reassure them their loved one will be cared for in their absence.
These beautiful and vibrant cards have been created from a stunning hand-crafted collage by ex-member of the Rowans Team and now supporter, Carrie Swinburne.
Patients think it’s ‘a wonderful idea’
When a patient is admitted to Rowans Hospice, either a nurse or a Patient Care Volunteer Coordinator (PCVC) will spend some time sitting with them to explain the Tokens of Care.
Chrissie Salero, one of our PCVCs, explained how she sat with one of our patients – Robert – earlier today and talked through the idea about the card and little gift.
Chrissie said, “Robert told me he has two grandchildren, a girl and a boy. Whilst reading the card he became very emotional and said what a wonderful idea this was. I then sat with him whilst he filled two cards out and picked two butterflies, one blue and one pink. Robert now has duplicates in his room as a reminder.”
It’s the small things that make a BIG difference
What started out as a small idea from our fantastic Nursing Team, has led to our Tokens of Care easing the pain of separation between patients and their loved ones.
Never before have so many experienced such unprecedented and uncertain times, but in times of darkness, we must all look for the light – it’s the small things that will always make the biggest difference. A reality which we are all experiencing at this very difficult and uncertain time.
What started out as a small idea from our fantastic Nursing Team, has led to our Tokens of Care easing the pain of separation between patients and their loved ones, allowing them to draw strength and comfort when they need it most.