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P-186 ‘Wellness wednesday’ – the little things that make a big difference
  1. Natalia Carreja and
  2. Karen Garforth
  1. Princess Alice Hospice, Esher, UK


Background The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant effect on mental health (Pierce, Hope, Ford, et al., 2020; Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2020). Workplace challenges like home-working, furlough, shielding, self-isolating and concerns about safety, meant that everybody was affected by the circumstances (Chandola, Kumari, Booker C, et al., 2020; White & Van Der Boor, 2020). Early on, feelings of isolation, anxiety, worry, grief, uncertainty and stress were becoming the norm. This led to a recognition that paying attention to mental health and wellbeing was as important as the direct health consequences of the virus.

Aim A Wellbeing Survey was conducted in May 2020. In response to the feedback, and as part of a wider plan to support physical and mental wellbeing, we developed the following objectives:

  • To keep in touch with staff regularly.

  • To mitigate feelings of isolation and disengagement.

  • To provide advice on how to look after oneself during challenging times.

Method A ‘Wellness Wednesday’ email was identified as a way of raising awareness of wellbeing. Our staff receive a weekly email about mental health and wellbeing-related subjects, including resilience, coping with change and uncertainty, and anxiety management. Online talks, webinars and events are also shared, along with raising awareness about diversity and inclusion. The email is written in a relaxed and upbeat tone to facilitate connections with staff.

Results A survey reflected that 91% of staff working from home, and 92% of staff working at the hospice valued email as the most useful form of communication. Feedback received about our ‘Wellness Wednesday’ emails reflects that staff find the support valuable and useful during these challenging times: ‘Thank you, that’s exactly what I needed to hear today!

Conclusions Our ‘Wellness Wednesday’ email is an example of how small things can have a significant impact. We have identified this email as contributing to positive levels of staff engagement and we plan to continue to support our staff in this way going forward.

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