As the weeks pass I continue to observe and experience new things (at Royal Stoke and County Hospitals) which I hope you find both interesting and encouraging.
Even with the huge additional expenditure incurred because of the pandemic, standards continue to improve – wards are being redecorated and improved both when empty and (most considerately) while still occupied by patients.
I have seen the introduction of different coloured aprons in some areas such that a specific colour should be worn in a particular 4 or 5 bedded bay; although a new apron is always worn for each patient, this acts as an additional prompt to replace PPE when moving to different areas around the ward.
I have been sent to visit patients and on arrival found ‘a purple bow’ on their door. This means that the person within is now in the last stages of life which may not have been the case when they were last visited. If I find this, my task is to report back immediately when an ordained chaplain will visit as soon as possible.
I have been having greater interaction with ward staff – perhaps because of the extra work load they have – and on occasion they too value the opportunity to talk with me.
I was asked in the run up to Christmas to accompany other members of the SPaRC team onto wards to play the concertina and pre-recorded carols (unfortunately live carolling was not possible this year) to share the real meaning of Christmas with patients and staff alike.
I can only say that the longer I am doing this work the more rewarding it is. I hope that it is beneficial for patients also.