MINCHINHAMPTON hospice nurses have issued an urgent plea to help them care for the most vulnerable people in the community.

For many years, Longfield Hospice nurses have looked after patients who are nearing the end of their life in their own homes, freeing up hospital beds in Gloucestershire.

Now the hospice needs the public's support more than ever and is urging people to back the Longfield COVID-19 Urgent Appeal to provide essential funding for its nurses to continue visiting and caring for people round-the-clock.

Longfield chief executive Simon Bernstein said: “Our Hospice at Home team takes pressure off an already overloaded NHS.

"It is imperative in this crisis that we free up as many beds as possible for the hospitals to continue to fight the virus.

“The current situation is putting every part of our society under pressure and Longfield is no different.

"Whilst the hospice is rising to the immediate challenge and supporting the work of the NHS, we must do everything in our power to be here to deliver free care and support for patients with life-limiting illness and their families next week, next month and for the years to come.”

The community hospice in Minchinhampton receives 85 per cent of its funding from the local community and so it has been hit hard by the closure of its 20 shops and the cancellation of events and community fundraising due to coronavirus.

“This virus is already having a detrimental effect on hospice income and could, in the longer-term, threaten the hospice’s viability for future patients and their loved ones. So, it is now time to ask for the public’s help,” he said.

Eden Edney is a member of the Hospice at Home team with Longfield.

She said it is vital that they are able to continue their work to help vulnerable people in need.

“I am passionate about my work, helping to care for people so they can fulfil their last wishes to die at home.

"We are taking every precaution to protect our patients and ourselves and we are pulling together to swap shifts so we can continue to provide the best possible care for people,” she said.

“With people not being able to travel at the moment, our patients who are nearing the end of their life cannot see their loved ones and we can be their only visitor in a day.

“It is a real worry and when we are not working, we are just staying at home to ensure we keep well so we can continue to be there for our patients and their families.

“Our work has never been more important, so please do what you can to help us continue to care for people in our community.”

How to support the appeal:

£100 could provide an initial assessment for a patient upon being discharged from hospital, working to ensure they have everything they need to be pain free and to make them feel as comfortable as possible at home in their own surroundings.

£60 could provide Hospice at Home care on one evening at a time when a patient needs it most.

£20 could make a difference in providing a bereavement counselling session for a patient’s loved one.

One-off or monthly donations can be made.

To make a donation, visit longfield.org.uk/urgentappealor call 01453 886868.