Background Visiting restrictions have been challenging, fewer interactions increase anxiety and isolation (Mansfield, Mathur, Tazare, et al., 2021). Finding ways to maintain emotional bonds has been crucial to hospice care (Aghaei, Vanaki, Mohammadi, 2020; Mental Health Safety Improvement Team, [Royal College of Psychiatrists]) to help maintain connections (Azoulay, Kentish-Barnes, 2020). Using recordable cards and albums has had a positive impact on our service users, their family and on hospice staff.
Aims To maintain emotional connections between those receiving hospice care and their family given the impact of COVID-19. To elucidate the experiences of those using recordable cards and albums, those who received them and hospice staff who supported their use.
Methods In 2018/19 the Hospice Admiral Nurse (HAN) started the use of recordable albums as part of life story work. When the pandemic hit the hospice introduced recordable cards and provided them free for all service users using grant funding and the HAN continued to support the community in their use, finding carers whose loved one had transitioned into a care home particularly benefitted. An evaluation form was attached to each card or album given out, with a good return rate.
Results People receiving inpatient hospice care preferred the recordable cards due to fatigue (age range 57-89). Evaluation received 5 out of 5 rating -‘Comforting’, ‘Meaningful’ and ‘Worthwhile’ were the most used words –with some family members crying with joy at receiving a recorded card. Albums were mostly used in the community and given a 5 rating; carers described the comfort of sending their album into the care home which not only maintained an emotional connection but also allowed staff to get to know the person quickly.
Conclusions Evaluations demonstrated the emotional impact using recordable cards and albums had on hospice service users and their family. Hospice staff found being alongside, supporting people recording messages improved their own mental wellbeing and job satisfaction.
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