Coronavirus: Current Information and Advice
Information last updated 29/05/2020 at 2:25pm
The symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) may be more severe in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term and life-limiting illnesses.
It is important in the current and ever-changing coronavirus situation that we take all reasonable steps to protect the wellbeing of those using our services, our staff and volunteers.
Current Advice for Visiting the Hospice
Visitor access to the Hospice is now restricted to protect those in our care and our workforce.
As of 29th April, one named visitor (who must be the same named visitor each time) is allowed per patient for up to 2 hours per day. We appreciate this is more difficult if a loved one is at the end of life and in these circumstance this will be discussed with the patient’s family. Visitors may be required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and the nursing team will advise on this.
Our ‘Keep in Touch’ service will help you to keep in contact with your loved one during their stay with us. You will be given more information upon your visit.
We appreciate that this is a very difficult situation and we are doing our best to accommodate individual needs. Please contact our Nurse in Charge for guidance on 0113 218 5500 (24 hours a day).
We also ask anyone who is feeling unwell, particularly with a high temperature or a new continuous cough, NOT TO VISIT THE HOSPICE. Please review the latest government advice on what you should do.
Changes to Services
St Gemma’s care continues as fully as possible in these unprecedented circumstances. The current status of our services is as follows:
- The In-Patient Unit remains open. However, visitor access is now restricted. Please contact our Nurse in Charge for guidance on 0113 218 5500 (24 hours a day).
- The St Gemma’s community team continues to operate and will continue to see patients in the community, as and when appropriate.
- Our usual Day Services, including drop-in sessions, out-patient appointments and clinics are suspended until further notice. This also includes therapy services, bereavement support and counselling. However, the team will be in touch with all current service users to discuss individual situations and alternative support or advice during this time. For specific queries about Day Services please contact 0113 218 5294 during usual office hours. We also have some resources for coping with anxiety, mindfulness, and useful exercises to do at home in our patient hub.
- Activity within our Academic Unit is also suspended until further notice*. If you have a booking, or are due to attend an event, conference or training, you will be contacted shortly. *Training for medical students and nurses on placement continues as normal. For any queries about our Academic Unit activity, please contact 0113 218 5500 during usual office hours.
- The Hospice Bistro is currently closed to the public, including patients’ visitors. Visitors will be able to order food from the wards.
We understand that these changes may cause significant upset and inconvenience. Please be assured that we haven’t taken these decisions lightly and are prioritising the safety and wellbeing of our patients, service users and our workforce.
For specific queries about a current patient, carer or family member and have concerns about your personal situation, please contact us on 0113 218 5500.
Thank you for your support during this challenging time.
Leeds Covid-19 Bereavement Support Line
We have launched a Covid-19 support line, in collaboration with Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, available to anyone in Leeds with family members or friends who are critically ill, or who have died from any illness during the Covid-19 period.
To access the support line, call St Gemma’s Hospice on 0113 218 5544 or Wheatfields Hospice on 0113 203 3369.
For further information, please visit www.st-gemma.co.uk/covid19-supportline
While Visiting the Hospice
Visitors are asked to use the hand sanitiser gel at reception and wash your hands regularly.
Please keep your distance from other visitors and staff not involved in the care of your loved one where possible.
You can help to stop the spread of any germs by:
- catching your cough or sneeze in a tissue – bin used tissues straight away
- washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing (use a sanitiser gel, if soap and water are unavailable)
- avoiding close contact with people who are unwell
- not touching your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
Changes to Our Fundraising Events
St Gemma’s fundraising events (on and off-site) and other activities are being reviewed on a daily basis in line with government and local advice. All events from now until August (at the earliest), including the Windermere Row and the Big Family Fun Day, have been postponed and some are cancelled; please visit events.st-gemma.co.uk for details of individual events.
How You Can Help
Thank you to everyone who has given generous support at this difficult time. As you may know, we rely on the brilliant community of Leeds to help raise almost 75% of the funds needed to run the Hospice. Unfortunately our charity shops are currently closed and our fundraising events are postponed for the foreseeable future, so we need your support more than ever.
If you are able to, there are many ways you can still support patient care at the moment:
- Set up a monthly donation via our secure website. Any amount will go a long way towards keeping our regular services running.
- If you’re using Amazon to buy essentials, shop via smile.amazon.co.uk You can log into your account as usual, choose to support St Gemma’s from the charity list, and with each purchase you make we will receive a donation at no cost to you.
- While you’re at home, take the time to have a declutter. Save the items ready to donate to our charity shops in the future (but please don’t leave them outside any of our shops).
- Sign up for the Local Hospice Lottery in support of St Gemma’s. You can do this securely online on the Local Hospice Lottery website.
- If you’re signed up for one of our postponed events, consider not asking for a refund. This will reduce the strain on our team at a difficult time and your booking will automatically be transferred to the rescheduled date.
- If your birthday plans or another special occasion has been cancelled, set up Facebook fundraiser and ask your loved ones to contribute.
- Finally, you can help by sharing a message of support with our team. St Gemma’s has been caring for our community in Leeds for over 40 years and together we can care for generations to come.
Information for Shop Customers and Supporters
As of the end of 21/03/2020, we made the difficult decision to close our chain of charity shops until further notice. The gift shop in our main reception is also closed.
We are not able to accept donations to our shops at this time and our collection service is currently suspended. If you have items to donate to our shops, please keep these at home until we reopen. Our shops rely on your support and we will be extremely grateful to accept donated items again in the future.
We do not yet have confirmed dates to reopen our chain of charity shops, but we are busy planning with safety as a top priority. The shops now have social distancing measures in place including new screens at till points.
In the meantime, if you are shopping with Amazon for your essentials, you can support St Gemma’s with your shopping through Amazon Smile. Visit smile.amazon.co.uk, login to your account as usual and then choose to support St Gemma’s from the charity list. We will receive a donation with each purchase you make, at no extra cost to you.
Support Planning a Funeral During the Pandemic
Losing a loved one and arranging a funeral is challenging in any circumstances, but the Covid-19 pandemic can make things even harder if you are not able to say goodbye in the way you would want to.
We have created a practical guide to organising a funeral during the pandemic, including meaningful ways to celebrate your loved one’s life, where to find support with funeral costs, making faith arrangements, and accessing bereavement support.
Visit www.st-gemma.co.uk/covid19-funeralguide to download the guide.
For the latest information and guidance on the coronavirus you can visit:
Thank you for your understanding and support.