Wiltshire hospice opens temporary IPU to support NHS during pandemic

Categories: Care and People & Places.

Dorothy House Hospice in Wiltshire is helping to reduce the pressure on local NHS hospitals with the opening of a new inpatient ward and additional beds.

The new ward has opened on a temporary basis to support the NHS during the pandemic. Additionally the hospice is providing eight new beds in the existing therapy rooms. The extra resources will provide care for patients who would otherwise be in hospital, and can help reduce the pressure on hospitals that are already working hard to protect local people.

During the pandemic, Dorothy House nurses and carers are also increasing their care for people in their own homes, particularly anyone who would be more vulnerable in a hospital setting. Patients isolating at home continue to be supported by the hospice’s clinical and family support teams to maintain vital contact, either with home visits, a 24-hour advice line or remotely by phone or video calls.

The hospice is also developing new tools such as videos of physiotherapy exercises made by the Therapies team to help patients stay active at home, and a new relaxation CD is being produced for patients to ease anxiety or stress during the pandemic.

The coronavirus outbreak has resulted in a substantial loss of income for the hospice due to the closure of its charity shops and the cancellation of its fundraising events. As a result Dorothy House has launched the ‘Stepping Up Support’ appeal to raise funds and ask for volunteers to help support its work during the pandemic. While the hospice has a strong team of existing volunteers, this will allow doctors and nurses to focus care where they are needed the most; the volunteers could be asked to help remotely by keeping in contact with patients either online or by phone, or by dropping off supplies, or checking on people in person.

Jo Millard, whose son Benj was cared for by the hospice before he died of bowel cancer aged 33 last April, said: “This appeal is an ideal way for local people to show their support for this essential hospice during the Covid-19 pandemic. Dorothy House gave my son Benj the utmost compassion, care and respect in his last eleven days and nothing was too much trouble for their wonderful staff. My family are always happy to give back to Dorothy House as they not only looked after Benj beautifully but continue to support us a year after his death.”

Dr Emma Frampton, Medical Director at Dorothy House said: “There is no hesitation on our part. We have seen the need created by the pandemic and we’re acting now to extend our services, support the NHS and protect the most vulnerable in our community. My nursing team are stepping up to help and we know our amazing local communities will do everything they can to support this urgent appeal.”

Wayne de Leeuw, CEO of the hospice, added: “During the Covid-19 outbreak we’ll be caring for more inpatients than ever before, as well as continuing patient care in the community. We are working closely with the NHS to help care for discharged patients who require further inpatient care.

“When someone in our community reaches the end of life, we have only one chance to support them with the best care we can provide. Palliative care is critical work and becomes even more vital at a time like this. With more patients to look after we must make sure everyone receives compassionate care and support. The Covid-19 outbreak is already having a huge impact on our community and our mission is to step up and deliver essential care when it matters most.”

For more information visit Dorothy House Hospice