Local hospice takes on hospital patients to relieve pressure on NHS

St Helena Hospice in Colchester has expanded its capacity to care for more people during the coronav

St Helena Hospice in Colchester has expanded its capacity to care for more people during the coronavirus pandemic Picture: JULIAN CLAXTON - Credit: JULIAN CLAXTON

St Helena Hospice in Colchester is taking on patients from local hospitals in a bid to help the sick and relieve pressure on the NHS.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the hospice in Barncroft Close has expanded its existing SinglePoint service, which provides 24/7 advice and support over the phone and rapid response visits to patients’ homes at times of crisis.

The change comes as the hospice agreed with the local NHS to act as the lead organisation coordinating all out of hospital end of life care in north Essex for the duration of the pandemic.

It has since added a new two-bedded bay, taking the number of beds available to 18 – meaning it can admit mote patients from local hospitals as well as its usual hospice patients, while also expanding its virtual ward for sick patients in their own homes to cater for 14.

Mark Jarman-Howe, St Helena Hospice’s chief executive, said: “We have thought very carefully about a different model of care that would best support the NHS and allow us to step up and ensure that patients and families towards the end of life across north east Essex, get the care and support they need, when they need it, for however long this crisis continues.

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“We have significantly expanded our SinglePoint service, so in addition to providing advice and support 24/7, we’re also acting as a coordinator for local services, to make sure that people are given the option of staying out of hospital if they don’t need to go in, but equally for dying people to have the option to come out of hospital and be cared for at home.

“We’re working very closely with Anglian Community Enterprise (ACE), the local community services provider, to make sure that the use of the beds at the hospice, and in the community hospital wards in Clacton and Harwich are able to provide effective and joined up end of life care and support.”

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The hospice has also allocated all staff from its “Hospice at Home” team to local GP surgeries, while also working ever closer with other healthcare organisations in the North East Essex Health and Wellbeing Alliance (NEE Alliance).

Mr Jarman-Howe added: “It’s so important that as healthcare organisations, we support each other and share our skills and knowledge to make sure that local people facing incurable illness receive the best possible care, whoever they are and wherever they are.”

With its charity shops closed and fundraising channels critically affected by the lockdown, the hospice has launched an urgent appeal to help meet the needs of patients throughout the pandemic and into the future. Those who wish to donate should visit www.sthelena.org.uk.

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