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Message from the Chief Executive at Dr Kershaw's

Supporting Our Community - Dr Kershaw's Cares

Dr Kershaw’s priority is the welfare of its patients, staff, volunteers and the local community. We value and appreciate all the support we receive in helping us to provide care for all our patients, their relatives and loved ones. However, now it is our time to support you during the pandemic.

Over the past few weeks Dr Kershaw’s has, like all, had to adapt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We would like to provide you with an update on how Dr Kershaw’s has changed over the past few weeks and the changes that you can expect to see from us during the pandemic and how you can still support the Hospice during this time. 

How we’re adapting

We’ve been planning for several weeks how best to sustain critical services – in particular, our Hospice at Home and Caring Hands services throughout the crisis. Achieving this has been a huge effort; we’ve created a safe working environment for our clinical and non-clinical teams, completely updated processes and protocols for working with patients and families, and equipped nurses and doctors with protective equipment and new ways of working.

The difficult decision has been made to temporarily close our Inpatient Unit however, the Hospice will continue to remain open as we anticipate we will become a central hub for the wider healthcare community as we pool resources and work together to support the people of Oldham in these uncertain times.

By temporarily closing the beds on the Inpatient Unit we are able to move all our nursing and clinical resource into the community and support the increasing number of patients being discharged from hospital in their own homes across Oldham, providing patients with dedicated specialist care. Over the past few weeks, we’ve suspended some services, particularly those involving social gatherings for vulnerable patients, clients and volunteers – these include patients that visit our Well-Being Centre as well as closing Café K and temporarily suspending our Bereavement Café and Walk and Talk sessions.

Every day brings new challenges; our teams are not immune to the effects of COVID-19 and the changes in our society. Protective equipment and hygiene products – all critical for safety – are hard to find, and in many cases, the costs have escalated. But we remain committed to safe care, and to maintaining patient services with the same dignity, compassion and respect that we have for over 30 years.

Changes you’ll see and how you can help us

We have closed our shop chain for the foreseeable future, and many of our vulnerable and non-clinical team members are commencing a ‘work from home’ programme.

Needless to say, these changes pose us huge challenges, not least financially. We need to keep our critical services running whilst seeing our income reduce dramatically.  75% of Dr Kershaw’s income comes from our community support, especially from our fundraising events which we have had to temporarily postpone. But we still have ways that everyone can help – through our lottery, for example, which is just £1 a week to play, through purchasing products from our Hospice eBay Site or through Amazon Smile or online donations.

Keeping in touch

It has been lovely to receive calls and emails from so many of our supporters asking how they can help Dr Kershaw’s at this moment in time. Our website remains active and contains all the latest information on services and how you can continue to support us, should you want to help, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for our latest updates

As part of our Supporting Our Community - Dr Kershaw’s Cares campaign we will be regularly posting clear and up-to date information on how the community of Oldham should be responding to COVID-19. We are communicating the Governments’s key messages to keep our community safe, and highlighting trusted Government sources where you can find out accurate, up-to-date information. Our volunteer department at the Hospice is working hard to keep in touch with our network of volunteers to help them combat loneliness, distributing key information on services that are available to them, such as shopping services, takeaway deliveries, chemists (etc). We are also offering this support out to the wider community. They have also been busy delivering care packages to the most vulnerable to help those who are self-isolating. In addition, via our website and our social media pages we will be providing the community of Oldham with fun, uplifting, activities which our supporter network can do alone, or as a family, from the comfort of their own homes to help combat boredom during isolation.

If you would like to contact us regarding our services, please continue to do so through our reception team by calling 0161 624 2727. Please always ring ahead of visiting the Hospice for the safety of our staff and patients during this time.

Our reception team are incredibly busy at the moment, with many of our non-clinical staff helping out where needed. If you just have a general query, comment or enquiry, or you are a volunteer needing help or information, please use our dedicated email – info@drkh.org.uk. Your message will be picked up and dealt with as soon as we can.

We’ll meet again

Exactly how our services will change again in coming weeks we don’t know, but we are determined to continue providing care for patients approaching the end of their lives and their families. They need our support, whether affected by COVID-19 or not.

We’re working hard to ensure that Dr Kershaw’s is here now, and will still be here in the future; we truly hope that in a few months we’ll all be able to start afresh, and we are grateful for your support throughout. We would like to thank all the local businesses who have supported us with donated goods, which have increased our teams’ morale, and also to all the wonderful nurses who have responded to our recruitment drive to increase our community offer.  

We’re facing a challenge none of us were expecting and we are working hard to support our community throughout the pandemic. From all the team here at Dr Kershaw’s Hospice, we send our very best wishes to you and those dear to you and we hope that everyone stays safe in the coming weeks and months.

 

Joanne Sloan

Chief Executive

Dr Kershaw’s Hospice

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