Kirkwood Hospice, the charity which cares for patients and families affected by any life limiting illness across Kirklees, is responding during the national crisis to ensure that the most vulnerable members of our community are still receiving the best possible care and support they need every step of the way.

Kirkwood, which has been a much loved support to those living in Kirklees since 1987, has risen to the challenges that the coronavirus outbreak has created, expanding its support and implementing new virtual services.
With self isolation and social distancing measures now in place for months to come, everyday essential services offered by Kirkwood to its patients and families have evolved quickly to ensure that everyone can still receive the same level of care despite the imposed distance between patients, families and the Kirkwood team.

Nurses protect patients against the impact of coronavirus

Kirkwood’s team of community nurses continue to go above and beyond to ensure patients are still receiving the very best levels of care in their own homes. From pain management advice through to organising care plans, Kirkwood’s nurses are incredibly busy supporting those in need through video consultations, telephone conversations and home visits where necessary, delivering care to over 170 patients per week. Likewise, Kirkwood’s doctors are using video consultations to connect remotely with patients and provide medical advice.

Although visiting restrictions are in place at the Dalton site to protect the most vulnerable patients, care on the In-Patient Unit continues as normal with Kirkwood investing in technology to ensure patients can still communicate with their loved ones, despite the social distancing measures.
Expanding services during times of crisis

Calls to Kirkwood have increased significantly since the start of the crisis, resulting in the charity doubling the size of its Care Co-ordination Team, who are on hand to offer help to anyone affected by a life limiting illness. Working with Kirkwood’s nurses, the Care Co-ordination Team can support patients and families with a range of non-medical issues as well as providing emotional and psychological help to those who need it over the phone.

The Family Care Team continues to provide pre and post bereavement support over the telephone offering specialist counselling and a wide range of therapeutic services to support all those affected by grief, and will be introducing video outreach to connect patients or family members face to face with their counsellor.

The Support & Therapy Team have also been active within the community despite having to close their doors for the time being, delivering essential food and supplies to patients who are not able to leave their homes. They continue to maintain a close connection with patients via telephone.

Kirkwood is encouraging anyone who needs advice or support on any aspect of end of life care to contact the team on 01484 557910. The advice line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is available to patients, carers and family members as well as all healthcare professionals. Anyone can call for help and support, whether you are known to Kirkwood or not.

Michael Crowther, Chief Executive at Kirkwood, explains: “In this time of national crisis, many of us are facing unknown challenges. These are particularly difficult for the most vulnerable local people, but we are adapting to ensure that all of our Kirkwood community receives the very best levels of care.

“Through virtual communications and regular phone contact we are staying connected to our patients and their families, no matter what stage they are in on their journey. In these times of isolation and distancing, never before has a phone call from a friendly voice or a video call with your care team been so important.”

To continue to deliver these essential services, Kirkwood needs your help. It costs around £20,000 each day for Kirkwood to provide its services to patients in the In- Patient Unit and in people’s own homes, with 80% of the charity’s funding coming from the local community. With all major fundraising events cancelled, Kirkwood has launched a crisis appeal for donations that will help support its nurses and medical teams to carry on providing specialist care and provide the equipment it needs to ensure patient and visitor safety.