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P-189 ‘Off to war when I didn’t sign up!’, supporting hospice staff mental health during a global pandemic
  1. Laura Shukla and
  2. Jenni Homewood
  1. St Helena Hospice, Colchester, UK


Wellbeing and Mental Health initiatives put in place during the pandemic.

The emotional and psychological pressures of working within hospice care are well documented, however, the addition of a global pandemic plunged hospice workforces into an unknown and unchartered way of working. Suddenly the switch from dealing with the everyday death and dying of patients, changed to having staff’s own mortality, fear and anxiety thrust into reality. Unforeseen challenges within the workplace led to many staff experiencing emotions and anxieties that could not have been predicted.

The quick succession of events that changed everyday practice at the beginning of the pandemic gave rise to a number of initiatives implemented to support staff mental health and wellbeing. These have included:

  • Wobble room - a designated safe place for staff to visit and relax in.

  • Wobble room booklet for those working offsite.

  • Gifts of meals and drinks from local companies.

  • Mindfulness and relaxation.

  • Self-help videos.

The number of Mental Health First Aiders and freedom to speak up guardians has been increased across the workforce. In addition to this, staff were given information and contact details for a multitude of both national and local support avenues such as the Samaritans, NHS, Here for you and MIND, enabling support virtually through websites, webinars, online training and apps. Within the hospice a focus on wellbeing was central to communications on the workplace intranet. This then resulted in the sign up of 15 new workplace health champions who will support ongoing activities throughout the year. The initiatives that have proved successful will continue to be offered and available to staff as we transition away from COVID-19 and maintain a focus on staff wellbeing within the organisation.

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