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182 You can’t pour from an empty jug
  1. Sarah Fathers and
  2. Mary Mooney
  1. Ardgowan Hospice, Greenock, UK


Background In the earliest stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Inverclyde was particularly badly impacted. Ardgowan Hospice felt strongly that, as well as supporting the local community, it didn’t want those involved in supporting and caring for others during this unprecedented time to be overlooked.

Aims To provide emotional support to the statutory carers and health care workers of Inverclyde working throughout the pandemic, offering:

  • Confidential group sessions for service managers and teams to explore the impact of working during the pandemic and supporting distressed staff. Exploring impacts on them as individuals outside of work and enhancing resilience.

  • Individual support sessions as required, similar to either counselling or clinical supervision as required.

  • Availability of spiritually focused sessions for individuals or groups with a focus on enhancing resilience.

  • Support of hospice staff with regular information and support around wellbeing and resilience including self-hypnosis training for relaxation, online Pilates and one-to-one support as required.


  • Phase 1 (March-May 2020) Identified support to be offered. Funding secured from the BIG Lottery.

  • Phase 2 (May-June 2020): Recruitment and training of sessional staff.

  • Phase 3 (September 2020 onwards): Launch and advertisement of service, provision of support.

Results Uptake was initially slower than thought, however, referrals grew steadily with the onset of the second lockdown. Demand for support continues to rise exponentially as the impact of the pandemic takes its toll on carers and healthcare workers.

Conclusion The need for carers and healthcare worker support is as important now as it was in the initial stages of the pandemic, possibly more so. Community need is greater now than ever and requests for help from care and healthcare services are rising rapidly. This is taking a toll on workers who have not yet processed what they themselves have been through throughout this pandemic.

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