One of the primary reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic was to reroute traditional forms of connection into digital ones. Work became remote. Family gatherings happened on Zoom. But one aspect that does not transfer as easily is the medical one, but as Hospice Malta revealed in their annual general meeting, they managed to make the best of the situation they found themselves in.
Engaging with patients
Speaking with a Hospice representative, though many things changed, there was no stopping the work they do. “New work practices have been adopted throughout the pandemic”, they explained. “Staff were trained and equipped to work from home and several rotation shifts were introduced to keep contact at a minimum”.
Of course, it took a substantial IT investment, with members of staff being given new laptops and tablets in order to keep in touch with their respective patients. By extension, for the patients’ safety, contact with them had to change as well. Most contact had to be done through virtual means, though it transpired that this way, staff were pleasantly surprised that they could stay in touch with patients more regularly than when relying exclusively on physical meetings/sessions.
Increasing social media presence
Potential difficulties were not lost on the NGO. “IT volunteers together with members of staff assisted those patients who had difficulties accessing online platforms over the phone and throughout the pandemic”, they explained. these issues were well and truly overcome.
Even the Day Therapy Unit, thanks to the support from family members, managed to shift its service online, providing much-needed assistance and respite to patients throughout what otherwise would have been a very lonely period.
Even Hospice’s social media presence has increased throughout the pandemic. The added hours most have spent in front of their screens led to the change in approach, with awareness-building videos, appeals for fundraising, not to mention the evident examples of the fantastic work conducted by the entire team, Hospice is engaging like never before with all stakeholders.