2019 Care Charity of the Year – Heart of Kent Hospice

Heart of Kent Hospice

nurse looking after a patient

We caught up with our 2019 Care Charity of the Year winner, Maidstone based Heart of Kent Hospice to see how they have coped with running a hospice during the past year.

Q: How has your charity adapted to the current pandemic?

The whole Heart of Kent Hospice team has adjusted to new ways of working.  We’re all embracing new technologies to ensure that our care continues across all our services. With many of our 900+ patients shielding or choosing to self-isolate, both phone and video conferencing is enabling our Hospice Community and Dementia Teams to stay in touch, assess patients, and respond quickly and efficiently to their needs. We’re helping our patients keep active at home with our virtual Living well programme and our Family Support Team are using phone and video consultations to talk to people needing emotional support and counselling. Our Inpatient Unit has remained open throughout the last year and we continue to welcome patients staying with us for symptom control and end-of-life care.

We’re continuing to work closely with our fellow healthcare workers in the NHS and share our expertise with local care homes to support them with caring for their residents.

Q: With the absence of face to face fundraising events how have your managed to fundraise?

We had to launch an urgent fundraising appeal last March and we have seen the most amazing acts of kindness, thoughtfulness, and a resurgence of community spirit. People have found incredibly creative ways to fundraising for us – from running marathons on treadmills, or around their gardens, to shaving their heads and of course the obligatory online Zoom quizzes.
The pandemic has further cemented our Hospice’s important role in the local community and just how vital our compassionate care is.

Q: When the UK returns to a new normal what will be the first thing your charity does?

Now that’s a good question! We’d like to welcome people back to our Hospice. We’ve missed seeing patients and their families, visitors, volunteers and colleagues in our Hospice café, in Magnolia Place our Living Well centre and our beautiful Hospice garden. Usually our Hospice is a place of love, light and laughter and we can’t wait to see and hear that again.

Q: Will you be entering the Kent Charity Awards this year?

The Kent Charity Awards are such an important way for all local charities to share their hard work and achievements over the past year. We’ll be entering the Awards this year so we can highlight the phenomenal support from our local community, the challenges that we have faced, our collaborative working and the commitment and dedication of the whole Hospice team.