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The head of a hospice in Mapperley today paid tribute to the dedication of its staff braving the weather out in the community after snow forced it to close its doors for the first time in 30 years.

Rowena Naylor-Morrell, CEO of Nottinghamshire Hospice, in Woodborough Road, praised the charity’s 70-strong Hospice at Home team, who continued to visit patients and their families in their homes throughout today’s (TMarch 1) unseasonably bad weather.

The hospice provides day-care for 27 people but was forced to close because the deteriorating snowy conditions raised fears for the safety of staff and users on their journeys home.

It is believed to be the first time that the hospice has sent people home early shut for the day since a similar snowfall forced it to close early during the 1980s.

But Naylor-Morrell said its Hospice at Home team, which is made up of nurses and palliative healthcare assistants supporting up to 70 patients and their families across the city and county, continued to pull on their boots and head out into the snow in order to continue their work.

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She said: “We hear a lot about the dedication of the emergency services carrying on their work during the terrible snowy conditions and I’d like to thank every one of our incredibly committed Hospice at Home team for braving the conditions in order to deliver our community nursing service.

“For people in need of end-of-life care and their families, our nurses are superheroes, especially at this time of year. They stay in patients’ homes overnight to give them nursing care, which ensures that they are comfortable and gives their families much-needed respite care.

“It is extremely unusual for our hospice to have to close but we felt that we had no choice. Not many of our staff can remember it having happened before, but we think you have to go back 30 years for the last time snowy weather forced us to shut for the day.”

The Hospice at Home service is offered 365 days a year and is completely free of charge to the patients. It costs the hospice £300 to provide a member of staff overnight, while the hospice needs to raise £2.7m annually in order to continue its work.

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