Changes to our services during the coronavirus pandemic
We are all living in challenging and uncertain times. The current situation is affecting us all in ways we could not have imagined. It has required us to make a plan of how to maintain safety but this has resulted in some changes to the way we work. These decisions have not been made lightly and are based on the guidance from Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care and our own detailed risk assessments. We hope you understand why we are taking these steps. We are reviewing the situation regularly so that we can make appropriate changes to our plan when it is safe to do so.
We are still here to support you and your family. Keeping you, your family and our staff safe is our main concern. Here are some changes we have made to the way work in order that we can continue to care for and support you and your family.
Our community nurses are continuing to see people in their own homes. The Clinical Nurse Specialists are able to visit but will ask you some questions about coronavirus symptoms before they come to your house. They will also need to wear a face mask and on some occasions an apron and gloves if required. If you prefer, they can arrange to hold your consultation by phone or video conference. They will help set this up if you need it.
Our Hospice to Home Team continue to provide care in the home. Again, they will ask some questions about coronavirus symptoms before visiting and will wear full protective equipment when delivering personal care.
Our Supportive Care team have adapted the way they work to enable them to deliver one-to-one support and some group work via telephone and Zoom. They have also produced an on-line resource, “one Day at a Time”, which is updated regularly with a broad range of activities, interesting topics, poems and much more to help everyone cope with the current situation.
From 5th October, we are able to offer a very limited number of one-to-one sessions for our counsellors and Clinical Nurse Specialists to see patients and clients at the hospice. At present these sessions can only take place at the main hospice in Deer Park. Sadly, our temporary closure of The Long House remains in place. We recognise the value of the centre in the local community. We will formally review the situation again at the end of the year and as soon as we are safely able to do so, we will explore what services we can re-start at The Long House.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic we have unfortunately had to restrict visiting to the hospice bedded unit. Again, we haven’t made this decision lightly and we hope you understand why we have had to do this. The safety of our patients, their family and friends and all our staff is a priority during these challenging times.
We reviewed our approach to visiting at the end of September 2020. From 14th October 2020 our overarching policy for visiting patients on the bedded unit at the hospice is as follows:
- We have 3 visiting periods each day: 11.00 – 13.00; 15.00 – 17.00 and 19.00 – 21.00.
- We ask all patients to nominate 4 people who will be their visitors for the entirety of their stay.
- These visitors should come from as few household as possible
- No more than 2 visitors at a time and those people must be from the same household or a support bubble.
- We are not currently allowing overnight visitors other than for exceptional circumstances.
- Babies and primary school aged children will not generally be allowed to visit but we do treat every family individually so please discuss this with your nurse.
- All visitors must complete a screening questionnaire each time they visit.
- We will also ask for contact details in case we need to use the NHS Test and Trace service
- If you or anyone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus or has tested positive and are currently isolating you will not be able to visit. Please follow national guidance on self-isolating and ending isolation. You will not be able to visit until your isolation period has ended and you have not had a temperature for more than 48 hours.
- Visitors will be required to wear (Personal Protective Equipment) PPE appropriate to the need of their visit. If you wish, you may wear your own face covering or we can provide a mask for you.
- We will ask you to wash your hands and or use hand sanitiser during your visit
- We can support you and your family members to use Face Time, Skype or Zoom whilst being cared for in the hospice to help you stay in touch and connected.
We understand this policy is much more restrictive than our usual approach. We have put this approach to visiting in place to reduce the overall footfall into the hospice and to meet the national guidance around reducing the number of contacts we all have with people outside our own households.
However, we also know that family life and caring for people is an individual experience and we want to be as flexible as we can whilst still working within guidance and doing our best to keep everyone safe. We acknowledge there may be specific situations where we may need to take a more individualised approach to visiting within the context of this policy. Please feel free to discuss your situation or request with either a member of the medical team or senior nurse on shift. We want to support all of you and if we can allow some flexibility we will try to do this but the safety of our patients, you and our staff is very important to us.
We will regularly review this approach to our services and we will continue to follow local and national guidance and restrictions as and when they are implemented.