‘Post your Kindness’ Initiative, Speech and Language Therapy Department, Monaghan Hospital.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all of us, none more so than the inpatients in our country’s hospitals. With visiting restrictions at large in our nation’s hospitals, our patients have been required to adhere to new guidelines and continue their route to wellbeing and recovery in the strangest of circumstances we could have ever imagined. Patients are now without the close contact and support of their families and friends who typically occupy their bedsides following their difficult days in hospitals. In the most unprecedented and challenging of times our health systems has ever experienced the Speech and Language Therapy Department in Monaghan Rehabilitation Unit felt communication had a key role in patient welfare.
The Speech and Language Therapy Department in Monaghan Hospital have empathised with their patients and have adapted to their new needs to communicate alternatively with their loved ones. Advancing technology and mobile phones have proved an invaluable tool in this adaptation process. However, for some of our patients the arrival of a letter or card from their families and friends to their hospital bedside is a feeling that cannot be replaced.
The team in Monaghan Hospital considered communication options available and noted that while modern technology played a key role in interpersonal communication, the magic of receiving post was an unparalleled feeling amongst patients. With this in mind the concept of ‘Post your Kindness’ was born by Hannah Duffy Senior Speech and Language Therapist and Sarah McAlister Speech and Language Therapist. The initiative reached out to all local primary schools and asked children to post kindness to our inpatients.
The post arrived in its droves and took the form of letters, drawings, and arts and crafts. On arrival the packages were dispersed amongst the inpatients in the service who were beyond thrilled to receive the items. The ‘Post your Kindness’ initiative saw the arrival of packages which not only spread kindness to our patients but also ensured our patients felt a sense of connectedness to the world outside the hospital boundaries. Among the commentary received from patients included ‘I can’t believe a young child was thinking about me during this difficult time’, ‘I haven’t received a letter like this in years’, ‘I cried reading my letter… I feel remembered amidst the crisis’, ‘It was lovely to read about a child’s experience during the pandemic. I feel less alone’.
Children who included their addresses in their post received thank you letters from the Speech and Language Therapy Department and their efforts and impact was acknowledged in responses to their principals and through the medium of the local newspapers. A display of the children’s submissions are now available to view in our reception area where the bright colours and inspiring messages can be enjoyed by staff and outpatients return to clinics in our hospital. We would like to thank all the thoughtful children who reached out and spread kindness at this difficult time.