Planned care starts again

12 June 2020
Children and young people with life-shortening conditions will have more access to hospice care as Martin House opens its doors again following the relaxation of pandemic lockdown rules.

The hospice was forced to cancel all planned short breaks for families when the UK went into lockdown in March, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While it has continued to provide emergency care and end of life care, hundreds of families have been unable to make their regular planned stays for the last three months.

Dr Michael Tatterton, deputy director of clinical services at Martin House, said: “We know it’s been really tough for families during the lockdown. Most have been shielding to protect their children, and while we’ve been keeping in touch through phone and video calls, it’s not the same as coming to the hospice.

“Planned short stays are a huge part of the care we offer to families, and they often tell us how vital it is for them to have that break from the 24/7 care their child needs, to have time to relax and rest as a family.

“While the planned stays we’re now offering will be very different to what families are used to, we hope it will go some way to giving them the support they so desperately need.”

Among the measures in place to protect children and staff are opening a limited number of beds, and asking that children either come to the hospice alone, or with one parent or guardian.

There will be staggered mealtimes, and communal areas will be used by children one at a time. Planned stays will be offered in set blocks, either Monday to Thursday or Friday to Saturday, to allow for deep cleaning, while care staff will wear PPE when caring for children.

Martin House is also offering outreach visits in people’s own homes, so it can give care and support to as many families as possible.

Michael added: “We’ll be regularly reviewing our care offering, to ensure it is in line with government guidelines as the situation continues to develop.

“It’s really important to us to work with families to make sure we are giving them the care they need at this time.”