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This week, Boris Johnson confirmed his plans to move to the final stage of easing of COVID restrictions in England on 19th July. It means almost all legal restrictions on social contact will be removed.
Ahead of these plans coming into force, Ashgate Hospicecare have said they will be retaining their infection control measures, which have worked so well up to now, preventing the spread of the virus and helping keep patients, families, staff and volunteers and the wider community safe.
This means the charity, which provides specialist end of life care to patients with complex palliative care needs across North Derbyshire, will continue with two named visitors per patient, temperature checks on arrival to their Inpatient Unit and their staff and volunteers wearing face masks in all their hospice settings, including their 14 shops and three coffee shops. Shoppers will also be encouraged to wear a mask when shopping with Ashgate to help protect the wider community.
In addition, frontline staff and volunteers will continue to undergo frequent COVID testing and those who can work remotely will continue to do so.
Ashgate’s excellent infection control measures have been recognised in the prestigious RCN Nursing Awards where they have been named as finalists for Outstanding Contribution to Infection Prevention and Control.
Barbara-Anne Walker, Chief Executive at Ashgate Hospicecare, said: “COVID is far from over and that is why we will continue to operate with strict COVID measures in place to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.
“Our patients are particularly vulnerable to COVID and other infections and we must do everything we can to keep them safe and reduce the risk of a chain of transmission that could lead to them catching the virus.
“The data is showing us that the Delta variant made up over 98% of recent COVID cases and we know that the numbers of people infected are increasing every day. We also know that Delta is more infectious than previous COVID variants that have dominated the numbers in the UK.
“This is why we must do everything possible to help stop the spread of COVID-19, both in the hospice and in the community we serve.
“We are already seeing the wider health and care system impacted by the rising COVID numbers. Just as we did earlier in the pandemic, we will be here to support our healthcare colleagues in any way we can.”
Vaccine uptake amongst staff and volunteers at Ashgate Hospicecare has been overwhelmingly positive, over 84% of paid staff and 50% of volunteers have had their first dose, allowing services to remain safely open and for patients to continue to be cared for.
The hospice’s scrupulous approach to infection prevention and control has avoided any outbreaks of COVID and no cross infection of patients, staff, volunteers, or visitors to the hospice. This is despite the hospice caring for COVID positive end-of-life patients on a dedicated wing of their Inpatient Unit.
Barbara-Anne, concludes: “It would be irresponsible for a hospice like Ashgate to start easing off on the vigilance which has protected us so well until now, especially as Covid numbers are once more, on the increase.”