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Cornish hospital urges community to write letters to patients amid COVID-19 pandemic

Cornish hospital urges community to write letters to patients amid COVID-19 pandemic

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 4:00pm 12th April 2020.

The chaplaincy team at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust is calling on people to write letters to patients during their time of need. 

It comes after the hospital in Treliske had to suspend patient visiting hours last week (30th March) as a precaution, to keep patients, families and staff safe as they deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

“With visiting at our hospitals currently on hold, I was concerned that patients, missing out on time spent with their loved ones, would be feeling lonely and sad.

“I thought it would be a really wonderful gesture if members of the public could produce handwritten letters that would then be delivered to patients on the wards.

“It’s such a small gesture but it’s the little things that make such a huge difference.”

Sarah, Chaplain at Royal Cornwall Hospital (RCH)

She believes the idea is one that has the potential to make a tremendous difference to people at a time when they need it the most.

Royal Cornwall Hospital
Sarah Chaplain

For those thinking of submitting a letter to patients, Sarah’s advice is to keep it simple.

“It’s really about spreading a bit of joy and happiness. Sending a smile or a hug, words of encouragement, a thought or prayer; just something to let the patient know that they’re supported; that there are people out here in the community thinking about them and offering well wishes.”

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be a letter. It can be a sketch or drawing, which would go alongside some nice wording that we’ve chosen, and this will then be laminated by us in order to conform to current policies around infection, prevention and control.”

“We’ve already received over 25 letters so far. The youngest was eight-year-old Elliot, who wrote a lovely letter and illustrated it with a picture of a rainbow; we’ve also had an artist who drew a lovely cartoon. It’s already proving to be really popular, and it’s such a nice way to brighten someone’s day.”

Sarah Chaplain

“It made me feel better and it cheered me up. The letter had a very good picture of a bee, which made me think of my niece”.

Patient on Grenville Ward

“We loved Sarah’s idea of supporting our patients in this way. The Chaplains are an integral part of our Hospital team, especially in our current crisis, and this idea is a creative way of reassuring our patients they are still being thought of when they are not getting visitors and we think it will make a big difference.”

Kerry Eldridge, Executive Director of People and Organisational Development

To submit a letter, either scan a copy of it into your computer or take a picture of it, then send the file as a JPEG attachment to rcht.chaplains@nhs.net.

From here the team at RCH will print and laminate all digital letters before distributing to the wards.

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