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Coronavirus information

St Helena helps local people face incurable illness and bereavement. As an organisation we are taking reasonable steps to protect those using our services, as well as those working and volunteering at our sites.

We are continually monitoring the Coronavirus (Covid-19) situation and taking sensible and necessary precautions to protect our patients, families, staff, volunteers and supporters in line with the latest advice provided by the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and Public Health England.

The symptoms of Covid-19 may be more severe in people with weakened immune systems, older people and those with long-term and life-threatening illnesses.

The Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System website aims to offer residents a single, comprehensive and accurate source of information about Covid-19 and vaccinations. 

The site will be updated regularly and contains the very latest information on the ongoing vaccination programme in order to give people clarity on this major situation including:

  • Most up-to-date information on who is eligible to receive the vaccine
  • Latest details of locations of vaccination centres
  • Updates on progress of the local vaccination programme
  • Accurate information on efficacy and safety of the vaccines
  • Q&A section covering the most commonly asked questions
  • Interviews with people who have received the vaccine and staff who are delivering the programme
Visit the website

Services update

St Helena is as dedicated as ever to providing the best possible care and support to our patients and families across north east Essex. A brief overview of the changes we have made to our services follows. You can also read more in our news article

The hospice; essential community nursing visits; and SinglePoint and Virtual Ward, continue to run as usual. We are closely monitoring and following all Government advice, and we have plans in place to ensure we can provide the best possible care to our patients and families, whilst keeping them, and our staff and volunteers, protected.

However, in order to protect our vulnerable patients from Covid-19, we have made some changes to some of our other services.

Day therapies groups that are usually run at the Joan Tomkins Centre in Colchester and Tendring Centre in Clacton have been suspended as of Wednesday 18th March 2020.

One to one bereavement and counselling support that is usually also run at these sites is offered over the phone instead of face to face. All bereavement drop-in groups have also been cancelled until further notice.

If you are a patient in the community and your circumstances have changed and you need our support, please do call SinglePoint, any time 24/7 on 01206 890 360.

Visiting the hospice

(Updated 28th October 2021)

Please note, restrictions around visiting vary if the patient you are visiting is at the end of life, or if they have tested positive for Covid-19.

Our visitors are a highly valued part of hospice life and bring great comfort to the patients, but at this difficult time, we are having to make the right decisions to protect our vulnerable patients, the staff caring for them and loved ones who are visiting. 

All visits must be pre-arranged with the hospice main reception. To arrange a visit to a patient please call 01206 845 566. Please remember, do not visit if you are feeling unwell.

[Update 28th October] Following the announcement from ESNEFT about visiting at Colchester Hospital we have reviewed our visiting guidelines and decided not to make any changes at this time. However we'd like to take this opportunity to ask visitors to the hospice for their support in keeping our staff, patients and volunteers safe. Prior to visiting the hospice please complete a lateral flow test (available to order from gov.uk) and only visit if the test indicates a negative result. Do not visit if you are experiencing any of the main symptoms of Covid-19: a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. During your visit you will be required to wear PPE and comply with hand hygiene guidance. 

Visiting the hospice for the purposes of visiting the memory tree, book of remembrance or the multi-faith chapel is permitted only on weekday mornings. An appointment must be made in advance. For book of remembrance or multi-faith chapel appointments please call the hospice reception on 01206 845 566. For memory tree appointments please call Lizzie on 01206 931 468. Visitors will be required to sanitise their hands and wear a face mask unless exempt.

We know this is difficult. However, our patients are in the most vulnerable group of people that makes them more at risk of catching Covid-19 and more at risk of dying from it. Therefore, we need to ensure we are protecting them, as well as protecting our staff to allow them to remain well to continue to care for the people you love.

On the right, or below if you are using a mobile device, you will find our general visiting guidelines; guidelines for visiting a patient who has tested positive for Covid-19; and guidelines for visiting a patient who is in the last days of life. 

We thank you for your understanding and co-operation at this challenging time.

Please be advised, our staff will be adhering to wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) for various reasons in order to maintain patient safety. There may also be situations when visitors are asked to wear PPE to protect themselves and the public.

We kindly ask that all visitors respect our staff and the decision to suspend and restrict visiting at this time.

Before visiting, please ensure you are compliant with the latest government guidance.

If you have any questions or concerns please ask to speak to the nurse in charge.

Visiting information

General visiting guidelines

The rules outlined below are designed to protect our patients by adhering to social distancing guidance and limiting the number of people moving through the ward at any one time:

  • Visiting will be permitted between the hours of 3pm and 7.30pm each day.
  • Visits are limited to one visit of a maximum of 4 people per patient per day (exceptions may be made for patients at the very end of life and minors who wish to visit– please speak to the nurse in charge)
  • We ask you to limit your visit to a maximum of 90 minutes. If you do not leave at the end of this allotted time, you will be asked to do so.

Please do not visit if you are displaying symptoms of Covid-19 (i.e. new persistent cough, high temperature, loss/change of taste/smell).

Please do not visit if you are required to self isolate (i.e. if you have returned from abroad, or have been contacted by track and trace).

We would ask you to do a lateral flow test before your visit or twice a week if you are visiting regularly. Tests can be requested from the gov.uk website
If you have a positive test result you should follow the guidance and request a PCR test. Please do not visit if you have had a positive PCR or lateral flow test.

If you wish to speak with a doctor, please let us know in advance of your visit and we will try to arrange this for you.

During your visit

  • Please plan your visit, you may wish to bring a drink or snack. 
  • You will be asked to use hand sanitiser on arrival and you will be supplied with a face mask, apron and gloves to wear. Please wear this throughout your visit and dispose of the gloves and apron in the room. Please wash your hands on leaving the room. You will be advised where to dispose of your mask depending on how you exit the building. Use hand sanitiser after disposing of your mask. 

After your visit

  • Go straight home. Do not stop off anywhere on the way.
  • On arriving home wash your hands, change your clothes and wash at 60°C with laundry detergent.

Guidance will be reviewed periodically according to government guidelines.

If you are unable to visit please ask ward staff about other ways to stay in contact e.g. email (keepintouch@sthelena.org.uk) or video calls (ipads are available on the ward for patients' use and staff will be happy to assist).

The safety of all our patients, staff and you is our priority. Therefore, we reserve the right to ask you to leave the premises if you do not adhere to the current guidance. We thank you for your understanding and co-operation at this challenging time.

Guidelines for visiting a patient who has tested positive for Covid-19

Visiting someone with Covid-19 could result in you becoming infected with Covid-19 yourself.

You may have been told to self-isolate if you have had previous contact with the person who is Covid-19 positive. If you are self-isolating for this or any other reason you must not visit. For a full description of what is meant by a contact please visit the gov.uk website

If you are in a shielding group you must not visit anyone with Covid-19. If you are in a high risk group or over 60 years old we would strongly advise you not to visit anyone with Covid-19.

Please do not visit if you are displaying symptoms of Covid-19 (ie new persistent cough, high temperature, loss/change of taste/smell)

We would ask you to do a lateral flow test before your visit or twice a week if you are visiting regularly. Tests can be requested from the gov.uk website
If you have a positive test result you should follow the guidance and request a PCR test. Please do not visit if you have had a positive PCR or lateral flow test.

The rules outlined below are designed to protect you:

  • Visiting will only be permitted if your loved one is thought to be in the last days of life.
  • Visits are limited to one person per patient (exceptions may be made in exceptional circumstances please speak to the nurse in charge)

Planning your visit

  • The risk increases the longer you spend with someone who is Covid-19 positive. We recommend limiting visiting to no longer than 30 minutes.
  • You should not eat or drink whilst visiting as this poses a risk of transmission. Please eat, drink and use the toilet before visiting.
  • You must go straight home after your visit so please take this into account.

During your visit

  • You will be asked to use hand sanitiser on arrival and will be supplied with a face mask, apron and gloves to wear. Please wear them throughout your visit and dispose of the gloves and apron in the room. Please wash your hands on leaving the room. You will be advised where to dispose of your mask depending on how you exit the building. Use hand sanitiser after disposing of your mask. This is for your own protection.
  • A face to face visit with a Covid-19 positive person, without correctly wearing a mask, apron and gloves for the duration of the visit, would require you to self-isolate for 14 days.

After your visit

  • Go straight home. Do not stop off anywhere on the way.
  • On arriving home wash your hands, change your clothes and wash at 60°C with laundry detergent.

Guidance will be reviewed periodically according to government guidelines. 

If you are unable to visit please ask ward staff about other ways to stay in contact e.g. email (keepintouch@sthelena.org.uk) or video calls (ipads are available on the ward for patients' use and staff will be happy to assist).

The safety of all our patients, staff and you is our priority. Therefore, we reserve the right to ask you to leave the premises if you do not adhere to the current guidance. We thank you for your understanding and co-operation at this challenging time.

Guidelines for visiting a patient who is in the last days of life

Arrangements regarding visiting have been relaxed because we believe your loved one is in the last few days of their life.

  • Visits are welcome at any time.
  • The duration of your visit is not limited however we would ask that you minimise the number of times you come and go throughout the day.
  • Visits are limited to a maximum of 4 people per patient
  • We ask that no more than one person stays overnight.

Please do not visit if you are displaying symptoms of Covid-19 (ie new persistent cough, high temperature, loss/change of taste/smell).

Please do not visit if you are required to self isolate (ie if you have returned from abroad, or have been contacted by track and trace).

We would ask you to do lateral flow test before your visit or twice a week if you are visiting regularly. Tests can be requested from the gov.uk website
If you have a positive test result you should follow the guidance and request a PCR test. Please do not visit if you have had a positive PCR or lateral flow test.

If you wish to speak with a doctor, please let us know in advance of your visit and we will try to arrange this for you.

During your visit

  • You will be asked to use hand sanitiser on arrival and you will be supplied with a face mask, apron and gloves to wear. Please wear this throughout your visit and dispose of the gloves and apron in the room. Please wash your hands on leaving the room. You will be advised where to dispose of your mask depending on how you exit the building. Use hand sanitiser after disposing of your mask.
  • Masks should be changed after being worn for 4 hours or if they become damp. When changing your mask you should also wash your hands and change your gloves and apron.
  • You might want to bring drinks or snacks with you. If you require anything from our kitchen please ask a member of staff. We cannot handle money but would ask that you leave an equivalent donation in the donation box at reception.

After your visit

  • Go straight home. Do not stop off anywhere on the way.
  • On arriving home wash your hands, change your clothes and wash at 60°C with laundry detergent.

Guidance will be reviewed periodically according to government guidelines.

If you are unable to visit please ask ward staff about other ways to stay in contact e.g. email (keepintouch@sthelena.org.uk) or video calls (ipads are available on the ward for patient's use).

The safety of all our patients, staff and you is our priority. Therefore, we reserve the right to ask you to leave the premises if you do not adhere to the current guidance. We thank you for your understanding and co-operation at this challenging time.

Vaccinations at the Tendring Centre

The St Helena Tendring Centre in Jackson Road, Clacton, is being used as a vaccination centre, operated by the North East Essex CCG. 

For the next few months, we are renting out our venue to the CCG in order for them to provide vaccinations to the local community in Tendring. 

Please be aware, as the vaccinations are not run by St Helena, we cannot help with taking bookings for vaccinations or answer any questions or queries about how the vaccinations are being run/if the centre is open.

To find out more about how to book your vaccinations, please visit the NHS website

Information for relatives/friends of patients at the hospice

If you have a relative or friend staying at the hospice and you would like to check on their condition or make sure they're ok, please in the first instance call the next of kin to ask for an update, as we will be in regular contact with them.

If you do phone the hospice to ask after your loved one, please bear with us in waiting for a response. Our nursing staff are often with patients when loved ones phone, and to speak with you they have to disrobe their PPE, dispose of it, and then when they return put on all new PPE to resume the duty they were in the middle of. With a shortage of PPE, we're desperately trying to do everything we can to avoid wasting its use. We will therefore ask that you either speak with the next of kin for an update; or leave your details and one of our team will come back to you as soon as they have an appropriate moment to do so.

Please be assured that if anything changes in your loved one's condition or if we need to update you on anything, we will be in contact with the next of kin.

We thank you for your understanding at this time.

Support St Helena

We’re facing a devastating loss of income because of the impact of Covid-19. If you would like to support us to secure the future of St Helena, here are some of the ways you can:

 
 
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