When the government guidance was a straightforward ‘stay home’ it was relatively easy to make decisions in relation to keeping people safe at the hospice. As we start the process of easing lock-down this will be more complicated and it will be harder to have single or definitive answers. We know this is frustrating!
What we do know is that because of the strict controls we have put in place on visiting; our guidance around the use of personal protective equipment and our persistence in repeating the messages about attention to hand hygiene, we have had no outbreak of Covid-19 at the hospice.
As you will have seen from the news, this has not been the case in many care homes and indeed some hospices where outbreaks have happened and posed significant challenges for staff, families and individuals being cared for.
Of course, the challenge is that as more people are out and about and mixing with other households it complicates the decisions we might make about whether or not family members can visit the hospice.
At this time, there is no change in our message about visiting for people who are being cared for on our ward. Where someone is very near the end of their life, we will be proactive in inviting one family member to come to the hospice and stay until their loved one dies.
Any other visits will be by arrangement with the nurse in charge and based on the health and wellbeing of each individual we are caring for. We will consider all requests carefully and, if necessary, take advice about the risks presented by each potential visitor before agreeing any arrangement.
Previously, we have permitted people to ‘visit’ through the window as a way of seeing each other and keeping in touch. However, now we are more full, we’ve stopped this as we’ve noticed it can be disruptive for others and compromises their privacy and dignity.
If and when children return to school the challenges in managing infection risk will change again. You will know that scientific advice is mixed on whether or not children can transmit the virus and we will await further guidance on this and how to manage risks for staff and people we are caring for.
We now have more access to testing – whether for individuals we are caring for whose Covid status is unknown or uncertain – and staff already have access to testing if they are symptomatic. The test only provides a ‘snapshot’ at the time it is done, so regular testing is vital for people who develop symptoms.
Remember, the guidance has changed about symptoms of Covid and the loss of or change in smell or taste has been included alongside a fever and a new continuous cough.
If you have questions please email us at email@example.com.