Hospice resumes day care services after coronavirus safety review

A North-East hospice has reopened its day care services after redesigning them to maximise the safety of patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

During the lockdown, Butterwick’s traditional day care service had to be suspended, although it continued to offer telephone support .
Now, following key changes to make day care services Covid-secure, Butterwick Hospice Care has allowed face to face services to be resumed at both the Stockton and Bishop Auckland sites.

Before the pandemic, day care patients with life limiting conditions would meet in a group when they first arrived at the hospice, before going on to have complementary therapies or physiotherapy.

That has now changed to a more structured model, so individual appointments are made for each patient before they embark on a personal programme, followed by an evaluation at the end.

The new model was piloted at Bishop Auckland in October and its success has now led to services also being reintroduced at Stockton.
Butterwick’s Director of Care, Sarah Clarke, said: “It’s wonderful to be able to engage with our day patients again in a Covid-secure environment, and to be able to give them the care that they need.

“It’s also been an important boost for our staff who have missed being able to provide the services in person. There has been a joint longing among patients and staff, and it’s fantastic to be able to reunite them.

“At the moment, we are caring for five or six patients a day, but we will be able to accommodate more in the New Year.”

One of the first day care patients back through the door at Stockton was Raymond Longster, a 70-year-old grandfather from Billingham, who has Motor Neurone Disease.

In his younger days, Raymond was a keen footballer in the Northern League, Wearside League, and Teesside League, and was a childhood friend of former Middlesbrough legend Willie Maddren. Willie was also diagnosed with MND and died, aged 49, at the Butterwick Hospice in 2000.

Raymond said: “Throughout the pandemic, we’ve not been able to come to the Butterwick, and it’s great to be able to come back. I can’t wait to see the other patients and the friends I’ve made because we all really support each other and have a laugh.

“The Butterwick is such an amazing charity and the care is out of this world. I can’t thank the staff and the volunteers enough for everything they do.”

Stockton hosts day care services on Mondays and Fridays, while Bishop Auckland accommodates day care patients on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

For more information on how to get referred for day care services please telephone Butterwick Hospice Care on 01642 607742 and ask to speak to Suzie King

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