Hospiscare is rapidly adapting to the challenge of COVID-19

Healthcare staff at Hospiscare have pulled out the stops to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic.

Two Hospiscare nurses wearing PPE

Healthcare staff at Hospiscare have pulled out the stops to adapt our ways of working in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Our charity has seen an increasing demand in our services due to COVID-19. Staff at Hospiscare have rallied together to rapidly adapt our services and ensure that our outstanding specialist care continues for patients with terminal illnesses and their families across the heart of Devon.

The twelve-bed ward at our Exeter hospice remains open and Hospiscare’s specialist nurses and doctors continue to care for patients on the ward and in their homes.

Although the pandemic has forced the closure of Hospiscare’s nurse-led clinics and day hospice services, our staff have employed secure video calling software to consult with patients and carers. This enables our doctors and nurses to assess patients thoroughly and provide the best possible individualised care.

A Clinical Co-ordination Centre (CCC) has been established at our Exeter hospice and is equipped to take calls from patients, carers and healthcare professionals. The CCC provides support and advice, as well as the ability to quickly direct the caller to the service they need.

Our charity has stringent policies and safety measures in place to protect patients and staff on our Exeter ward and in the community – enabling our specialist nurses to treat terminally ill patients at home and helping to free up vital hospital beds.

Specific COVID-19 resources have been created, advising patients, carers and healthcare professionals of the latest protocols for end-of-life care and signposting to support services that have been established for vulnerable groups.

Due to the increased demand on local NHS services, Hospiscare is supporting staff and services at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital and has taken additional patients in order to free up hospital beds for those seriously ill with COVID-19.

Andrew Randall, Chief Executive Officer of Hospiscare, said: “Every day I am impressed and inspired by the response of our staff and supporters to this crisis and the team’s dedication to continuing to provide expert care for terminally ill patients across the heart of Devon in these difficult conditions.”

Ann Rhys, Deputy Director of Nursing, added: “Hospiscare’s clinical team has shown great courage in stepping up to deliver our mission and to alleviate pressure on local NHS services when and where we can. Despite significant pressure, we are working together, 24/7, to care for those vulnerable patients across our community.”

As a charity, we rely upon the fundraising support of the community to provide our vital service. The coronavirus pandemic has drastically affected Hospiscare’s fundraising efforts with all twenty of our charity shops forced to close and our fundraising events and public-facing activities cancelled. We have predicted a loss of over £1 million every three months until we can return to normal levels of activity. The full impact of the pandemic on our fundraising remains unknown.

Hospiscare is grateful for the pledge of financial support for hospices from the government which will provide some support to our funding until June. Despite this, Hospiscare will be heavily affected for the rest of the year. We need the support of the community now more than ever to ensure our survival so that we can continue providing vital, specialist care to people living with a terminal illness in the heart of Devon. If you are in a position to donate, you can support our charity by taking part in the Weekly Prize Draw or through a monthly gift or one-off donation.