A hospice care charity is expanding its care and offering expertise to help alleviate pressure in the local NHS amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.
Havens Hospices – which includes Fair Havens adult hospice in Prittlewell and Little Havens for children based in Thundersley – has been working with healthcare partners to find solutions for freeing up beds in hospitals across Essex, as well as deliver its usual care for adults and children at the end of their life due to a complex or incurable condition.
From Monday 30th March, Fair Havens – which only opened its new, purpose-built hospice to patients at the start of the month – will be opening all 16 beds in a bid to take more patients from the hospital and within the community who need palliative and supportive care.
This expansion is faster than anticipated and is being supported by Southend CCG and Castle Point and Rochford CCG (Clinical Commissioning Groups).
At Little Havens, respite and social activities have been suspended for children as the government advises them to stay at home where possible. Although still open for children who need care at the end of their life, the hospice is also opening up beds for vulnerable children with complex medical and social needs who should be discharged from local hospitals. This move is being supported by the Mid Essex CCG.
Both of these measures will release beds within acute units at the hospital and enable frontline NHS staff to care for the increased number of patients they will see over the coming weeks.
The charity continues to provide its Fair Havens Hospice at Home care within the community and is at full capacity. The J’s has suspended face to face home respite visits and many staff will be redeployed to help frontline services. A full update on the care services provided by Havens Hospices, as well as advice around visiting restrictions, can be found at www.havenshospices.org.uk/coronavirus
Ellie Miller is the Director of Care and Executive Nurse at Havens Hospices. Along with her Medical Team, she has been leading on these conversations with healthcare partners and offering support to local NHS colleagues. She says, “These adjustments to our hospice care will help to support the NHS so they can concentrate on saving lives.
“This is a time of extreme adversity. However, as a Medical Team, we have the utmost faith in every one of our staff to cope with these changes and continue ‘Making every day count’ for those who need us right now.”
Chief Executive of Havens Hospices Steve Smith says, “Although these measures mean a huge change in the way we as a charity, and our staff, operate, put simply this is the right thing to do.
“We are adapting our hospice care almost hourly to the developments both in the local community and within our Havens Hospices family. The fact that we’re balancing our essential core hospice care with supporting our NHS is collaborative working at its finest and we’re all very proud to play our part in national effort against Coronavirus.
“This is only happening because we have skilled, resilient and dedicated people working for the charity, strong relationships with our healthcare partners across Essex and of course kind donations from people which are keeping us afloat.”
Income for Havens Hospices is declining as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, with all charity shops closed and many public fundraising events postponed.
Steve continues, “It is tough for us, like all other charities right now. With around 80% of our income coming from donations, the immediate impact and long term effect is still uncertain.
“The demand for our care is growing, just as our income is decreasing. But we trust that our community will continue supporting Havens Hospices like they always do.”
To find out more about how to support Havens Hospices whilst it supports the NHS, click here or visit our social media pages @HavensHospices for regular updates