Frequently Asked Questions around the hospice and COVID 19

Are hospice services continuing as normal?

Here at St Mary’s Hospice we’ve looked at every service separately to see how we can best keep the people using our services, their families, our staff and our volunteers safe during this crisis while still providing the care that is needed.

What about the usual Hospice Services?

Living Well and Bereavement Services: We have cancelled face to face services because most of our clients fall into the group where it is recommended to self-isolate. Instead of this we’re keeping in touch by phone and also working to make sure they can access medication or food. Bereavement services are also being provided by phone

Hospice at Home: Hospice at Home continues as normal using a ‘phone ahead’ protocol where staff check before a visit:

a) if the person still wants someone to enter their house
b) if anyone in the house has COVID symptoms

As well as supporting community nursing teams to care for patients with palliative needs, they are also providing care for other patients, helping to keep people out of hospital. Working with local NHS teams, we aim to maintain a good level of support within the community, even when the In-Patient Unit re-opens.

Complementary Therapy: This service this service has stopped for present and staff will be deployed into our clinical team.

What else are you doing?

Living Well Centre: We’ve turned the Living Well Centre into a telephone hub for people in the Barrow area who are self-isolating. Enquiries to this line can access food, medicines or a friendly chat. There is a group of charities working as partners in the building to deliver whatever is needed. There is also a drop off point for donations of food or other necessaries.

From our Ulverston building: From our Ulverston building- some staff are able to do their normal job from home while those staff who cannot do their normal jobs at this time are running reception for us and as time goes on will help by working on laundry and kitchen services.

What are your volunteers doing? One third of our volunteers are over 70 and we hope they are all self-isolating safely. We’re offering support to those who don’t have support living locally. We’re grateful that some volunteers are still able to work in our shops, café and offices.

Will the hospice beds still re-open in April? We’re still on track for our beds to open on 20 April. However it is likely they may open earlier than this with some support from the local NHS. We will then be part of the plan for palliative patients and others who need to be discharged smoothly from hospital beds.

But you will still open the beds again? Yes, that’s our plan. It will just be a timing issue.

What about your finances?

What about events? All events the hospice had organised for the Spring and early Summer have had to be cancelled for the moment and we hope to reschedule some of them in Autumn. We hope you’ll join us then!

What about events other people put on for you? Some of these have been cancelled and some are being reviewed regularly to make the right decision at the right time

What about your shops? All St Mary’s Hospice Shops and Warehouse are now closed until further notice. We would like to thank all our loyal customers and donors for your support and look forward to seeing you all again soon. May we please request that at this difficult time NO donations are left outside the shops?

What about the café? The café has now closed for the duration, we will let you know as soon as it’s open and look forward to welcoming you back with cake and a cuppa as soon as we can.

What does this mean for the hospice financially? The hospice needs to raise 3.2 million pounds a year to carry on. We expect to lose between £100,000 to 200,000 each month while we are shut. It is critical that we start to raise funds again as soon as possible after the situation is safe.

Find out more about the challenges facing St Mary’s and how our services are operating, our Chief Exec Val Stangoe talks this through on TV! Click here to follow the link and tune in at 11.20 to see the interview, thank you for your support and stay safe.