Coronavirus (COVID-19) Services update

Last updated: 17 June 2020

The symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) may be more severe in people with weakened immune systems, older people and those with long term conditions.

We care for people with advanced life-limiting illnesses so it is important that we take all reasonable steps to protect the wellbeing of those using our services, as well as those working and volunteering for St Margaret's Hospice Care.

We are carefully monitoring the changing situation and reviewing the guidelines issued by Public Health England. We are endeavouring to keep our staff and volunteers up to date with the relevant information and would advise everyone to continue to visit the Government website.

Our Executive Team are meeting regularly to consider necessary precautionary steps to minimise the risk of infection with Coronavirus (COVID-19) for patients, families, carers, staff, volunteers and visitors to our hospice hubs.

To protect our patients and their families as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, St Margaret’s Hospice Care has suspended all day hospice services and reduced outpatient services in Taunton and Yeovil, with effect from Tuesday 17 March 2020.

If you are receiving support from any St Margaret’s Hospice Care services, you will be contacted by a member of the hospice team to notify you of how the changes will affect you.

The symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) may be more severe in people with weakened immune systems, older people and those with long term conditions. This action has been taken to safeguard our most vulnerable patients and the staff and volunteers caring for them.

We continue to offer support to patients and families via our 24-hour adviceline on 01823 333822 or 01935 709480 and our Community Team continue to work across the county.

Our In-patient Unit in Taunton remains open.

St Margaret’s Hospice Care is in regular contact with our health service partners in Somerset and Hospice UK, and continues to monitor the situation closely.

For the latest information regarding Coronavirus, please visit:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Welcome to St Margaret’s

During the Coronavirus Crisis we are continuing our In-patient services whilst ensuring infection risks are kept to a minimum; as with all other health care settings we have had to make some changes to help ensure the safety of both patients and staff.

Face Masks

You will see staff wearing face masks at all times not only in the clinical area but also when around the building; we kindly ask all visitors to do the same. Face masks will be provided on arrival at the hospice and are to be worn at all times.

General visiting

Following national guidance visiting is currently restricted to a maximum of one hour per day. The hour can be split; for example shared between close family and friends but in total should equal an hour.

There may be some exceptions to this (for example young children of patients) please seek further advice from ward staff.

It would help us greatly if family members were able to co-ordinate amongst themselves which friends and family members visit at what time. We would also ask that they separate their visits sufficiently to avoid groups of people waiting within any area of the hospice.

Please try to use alternative means to communicate where possible (Skype, Facetime etc), and we will endeavour to facilitate this.

COVID 19 Testing

All patients will be swabbed for Covid 19 on admission and extra infection control measures will be in place until swab results are known.

Symptomatic patients

If a patient is suspected of having the virus, full protective equipment will need to be worn by all staff and visitors at all times. It will be necessary to continue this for seven days from the onset of symptoms.

Many patients develop a high temperature as part of their condition when becoming more unwell. Unfortunately as this is a symptom of the virus we will still need to take full precautions while the cause of the temperature remains uncertain.

We have a duty to protect all of the patients in our hospice from undue risk and to ensure the safety of our staff who we are relying on to provide 24-hour care for those most vulnerable people.

Symptomatic Relatives

Our advice to any friend or family member who develops symptoms of COVID-19 (persistent cough or temperature) would be NOT to visit patients on the In-patient Unit.

This will also apply to anyone who is isolating due to contact with a symptomatic individual.

However, if visiting is essential for compassionate reasons, we would advise them to speak to a member of staff on the In-patient Unit to see if special provision can be made, preferably by phone.

Please note: If visitors experiencing symptoms of the virus arrive at the hospice without informing anyone, they may be turned away.

Many thanks for your support with these measures.

22 June 2020

In line with the latest advice from the Government, we are reviewing each of our fundraising events to assess the safest way forward. We will be in touch with everyone who has already booked a place as soon as we are able with further instructions.

While we recognise that many people will be disappointed that these eagerly anticipated events won’t be happening as planned, the health and welfare of our patients, their families, as well as staff, volunteers and supporters is our overriding concern.

The current disruption to our programme of fundraising events will, of course, have a financial impact on St Margaret’s Hospice Care. During these difficult times, we are especially grateful to our loyal supporters for enabling us to continue caring for people across Somerset who are facing a life-limiting illness.

If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.st-margarets-hospice.org.uk/donate-now

Any supporters fundraising on behalf, or in aid, of St Margaret’s and organising events where groups of people are coming together should follow the official advice via the links below.

Following further Government advice, and the gradual easing of the Governments lockdown measures, we are welcoming back some of our volunteers.

We are contacting all our volunteers who were originally required to take a step back to establish if they are happy to return to their roles as and when this is possible. As we continue to open more of our shops and face to face services within our hospice building restart we are ensuring all these areas are ‘Covid Secure’ and all regulations relevant to protecting our staff and volunteers are followed. We have created an induction process to follow with each of our returning volunteers.

We are looking forward to welcoming our volunteers back to their roles, however we do understand that some volunteers will prefer to support the hospice from home for the time being.

If you have not been contacted but would like to return to your role, please do not hesitate to get in contact with your volunteer coordinator or via info@st-margarets-hospice.org.uk.

If you are not a current volunteer but are interested in joining our team, please click here.

This is an ongoing situation and changes to restrictions may change quickly, we will endeavour to keep all our volunteers up to date. If you have any questions please contact your volunteer co-ordinator or shop manager.

Your help and support during these uncertain times is very much appreciated.

With effect from Monday 23 March, all St Margaret’s Hospice Care shops across Somerset were temporarily closed.

This week we have been able to open some of shops, click here to find your nearest store.

The health of our staff, volunteers, customers and our wider community is our paramount concern, and it is essential that we all do everything we can to stop the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

We hope to continue reopening our shops in the next weeks and months.

If your local shop is still closed and you aren't able to get to one of our shops accepting donations, we would ask our supporters not to leave donated items outside our closed shops, as we do not want your valued donations to be lost or damaged. Please hold on to your donated items and we will be very happy to receive them once your local shop is up and running again, as they make such a difference to the work we are able to do in your community and across Somerset.

We would like to thank all our customers and donors for their support, as you are enabling us to continue caring for people across Somerset who are facing a life-limiting illness in these difficult times.

If you would like to continue supporting St Margaret’s Hospice Care in other ways, you can find out more by clicking here.



 

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Please follow these links for the latest information about Coronavirus:

UK Government: Coronavirus (COVID-19) - latest information and advice

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

NHS: Overview – Coronavirus (COVID-19)

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Public Health England: Coronavirus (COVID-19) - what you need to know

https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/


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