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St Oswald’s Hospice response to Coronavirus

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St Oswald’s Hospice: Response to Coronavirus updated 25.03.2020

We are constantly monitoring the developing Coronavirus situation. We’d like to reassure you that we are following guidance based on the latest information (March 2020) from the World Health Organization (WHO), Public Health England and Newcastle Hospitals.

Protecting our patients, our staff and volunteers is our number one priority. If you are planning to visit the Hospice please note the below information prior to your visit:

Advice for everyone:

Stay at home if you have Coronavirus symptoms. You should not visit St Oswald’s if you or someone in your household:

  • Have a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • Have a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • Are vulnerable as a result of medication, have a chronic illness, over 70 years of age or pregnant.

Alternatively, please follow the below guidance, or if you have any questions call our Main Switchboard on 0191 285 0063, or use the 111 online Coronavirus Service.

We are reviewing the situation on a daily basis and will update this webpage as changes happen.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday 23rd March about the Coronavirus pandemic tightening the restrictions under which we must all live and in line with local healthcare/hospital Trusts, we have had to make the decision to stop visitors to our Adult Inpatient Unit.

The only exception to this is for visitors who are coming to see their loved ones who are imminently dying. We will unfortunately have to limit visiting to 2 adults at any time and at the discretion of the senior clinical team. We are aware of the distress this will cause and are working to provide additional electronic methods of communication for patients who do not have access to a mobile phone or tablet. Our clinical teams are talking to our current patients and also any new patients to agree visiting plans and how we can support both patients and families.

As a Hospice team who are passionately proud and protective of the outstanding care and support we provide to our families and community, you can imagine, our team are devastated by this and it goes against everything we believe in. We know however it is the right thing to do at this extremely difficult time for us all. We must protect our patients, workforce and our community. We respectfully ask visitors to please not challenge our staff, who are doing their utmost to protect us all at this unprecedented time. We thank you in advance for your understanding.

This decision will be constantly reviewed, taking in to account national guidance and the welfare of patients, staff, volunteers, and visitors.

As always, if you are visiting our inpatient ward, note the ‘advice for everyone’ guidance at the top of this page and please do not visit the hospice if you have any symptoms of Coronavirus.

We ask all visitors to wash hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, before entering the ward and before leaving the premises. Visitors should not be sitting on patient beds or stay in ward corridors or communal areas unless you’re asked to do so by a member of our team.

For more information please call our Main Switchboard on 0191 285 0063.

From Monday, 23rd March, the way we are offering bereavement support will change. Instead of face-to-face contact, you will be offered support over the phone or online. Our Bereavement Support Team will be contacting all our clients to discuss the best way to support you. We are still accepting new clients and referral will be in the usual way.

The service is open as normal and we have been receiving a number of phone calls from parents seeking advice. If your child is due to stay with us, please continue to call us on 0191 246 9060 as we are reviewing each child/ young adult on an individual basis. Alternatively, if you are looking for further guidance please visit the WellChild website.

From Monday, 23rd March, the way we are delivering short courses, groups and Day Hospice within our Focus on Living Centre will change. Instead of group face-to-face contact, we will be offering ongoing support either by telephone or face to face one-to-one support. Patients and carers have all been informed of this change and if you have any queries please call the service on 0191 285 0063 ext 2070.

The service has changed the way it is operating for many of our patients. Depending on individual patient need, contact will now either be a telephone review, bandaging treatment at home, or treatment at the clinic at St Oswald’s.

If you are unwell, especially if you have any of the previously mentioned Coronavirus symptoms, or a member of your household does, please:

  • do not attend your appointment and let us know as soon as you can.
  • if a member of staff is due to visit you in your home, please get in touch and we’ll work with you to decide the best way forward for your treatment.

Alternatively, if you are self-isolating or choose not to attend your appointment for another reason, please let us know as far in advance of your appointment as possible.

If you have any queries please call the Lymphoedema Service on 0191 246 9050.

We are constantly monitoring the Coronavirus situation and some changes have been made to some of our services (mentioned above). However, please continue to refer patients in to our services.

A number of email messages and intranet updates have been issued to our workforce as the situation develops. If you don’t have access to emails, please speak to your Line Manager or Volunteer Link.

From Monday 23rd March we have taken the decision to close all of our High Street shops around the region until further notice. We have made this decision to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus and to protect the health of our precious staff, volunteers and customers. We know you will understand and support us in this decision so thank you for all of your continued support.

Following on from our decision to close our high street shops, we have also decided not to accept any donated items in light of updates from the government. This will mean:

  • We won’t be accepting or collecting any donated goods.
  • Our onsite donation point is now closed. Our patients are amongst the most vulnerable, so please don’t bring any donations on site.
  • All House Clearances will be cancelled and re-scheduled for a later date.

Thank you so much for your patience, understanding and continued support at this difficult time. As soon as we are able to accept donated items again, we will let you know.

As a supporter of the charity, you will know that our Retail services are a vital part of our fundraising for St Oswald’s Hospice, and we know over the coming months our income will drop. As a local charity which has been at the forefront of caring and supporting thousands of our families for over thirty years, we are reaching out to you to say, if you can help us at this troubling time and over the coming weeks and months by making a monetary donation, we will be forever grateful. Please visit www.stoswaldsuk.org/donate or call 0191 246 9123. Thank you.

From Monday 16th March, any group gatherings which are due to take place on-site with external contacts, will be cancelled, postponed or held via other means. Please speak to your St Oswald’s contact for more information.

As the Coronavirus situation changes, we will be updating this page. Please check back for updates.

Thank you for your co-operation.