Coronavirus: Current Information and Advice
Information last updated 03/07/2020 at 11:00am
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 26th June, In-Patients may have two named visitors (who must be the same named visitors each time). The two named visitors can stay as long as they wish but for only one visit per day. We can support up to 3 visitors at the very end of life; please talk to staff about this. 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, a new continuous cough or a loss of smell or taste (anosmia), 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.
- On-site activity within our Academic Unit is suspended until further notice*. We are running a number virtual training courses, please visit our palliative care training courses webpage for more information. *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.
West Yorkshire & Harrogate Grief and Loss Support Line
A support line is available to anyone in the region with family members or friends who are critically ill, or who have died from any illness.
The free service offers practical and emotional support and advice. The service is available 7 days a week, from 8am to 8pm.
To access the support line, call 0808 1963833 or visit griefandlosswyh.co.uk.
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) have been postponed and some are cancelled; please visit events.st-gemma.co.uk for details of individual events and to find out about our new virtual events.
We have introduced new guidelines for our fundraising events; read our Covid-19 measures to protect our supporters, staff and volunteers at fundraising 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 many of our charity shops are currently closed and many of our fundraising events have been cancelled or postponed, 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. You can now donate your unwanted items (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. The gift shop in our main reception is also closed.
We began a phased opening of our shops from 29th June. The latest updates can be found on our shops webpage. The shops now have social distancing measures in place including new screens at till points.
We are now able to accept donated items for our shops. Please check the latest information on how to donate to our charity shops. Our shops rely on your support and we are extremely grateful to accept donated items again in a way that’s safe for you and for our team.
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.
St Gemma’s Hospice takes the safety and wellbeing of its staff, patients, customers and third parties working with us very seriously. In line with our Hospice values, we have completed comprehensive risk assessments for the Hospice’s operations and services.
For the latest information and guidance on the coronavirus you can visit:
Thank you for your understanding and support.