Katharine House Hospice has become coronavirus care centre

Katharine House Hospice has become a care centre for people suffering from Covid-19.

Anharad Orchard, CEO of Katharine House Hospice, which has become a coronavirus care centre. Library picture from before the outbreak
Anharad Orchard, CEO of Katharine House Hospice, which has become a coronavirus care centre. Library picture from before the outbreak

The hospice has expanded its 10-bed facility to allow it to accept up to 26 coronavirus patients to ease pressures on the Horton and JR in Oxford.

It is understood it is one of a number of centres that have been set up around the county by Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group in collaboration with the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust (OUH).

With the national coronavirus crisis soon expected to reach its peak in the UK, Katharine House in Adderbury, has rapidly increased its care facility to help cope with the expected urgent need for more community beds in Oxfordshire.

The Katharine House Response Centre became fully operational yesterday (Thursday).

Katharine House chief executive, Angharad Orchard, said: “The coronavirus pandemic is an unparalleled health emergency which requires an unprecedented response. As a local provider of specialist care, Katharine House Hospice is well-placed to quickly support the NHS by providing staffing and our facilities during this crisis.

"We are proud that the Katharine House Response Centre will provide much-needed support to our NHS colleagues and care for people in our community who have been so supportive of our hospice for so many years.

"Over the last week we have been working with the NHS and funding commissioners to draw up plans and operationalise these in order to re-purpose our hospice building to enable us to significantly extend our service and accommodate the additional beds and equipment required to support the national coronavirus response.”

Ms Orchard also reassured the community that the hospice would continue to support its current patients and that local people diagnosed with a life-limiting illness over the coming weeks would still be able to access Katharine House’s services.

"A major consideration for us was how we can care for as many people as possible over the coming weeks and continue to provide as many of our existing services as possible whilst also looking after those diagnosed with coronavirus. During this crisis we have adapted our ways of working to ensure our services are still there for patients and families when they need us. Our teams will continue to ensure a high level of joined up care and support for all our patients,” she said.

"The situation is changing rapidly. Katharine House will continue to review its approach in collaboration with local health services to ensure its staff and facilities are used in the most effective way possible during these difficult times, to respond to the needs of people in our community who are facing a life-limiting illness."

It is understood coronavirus patients might be those who need end of life care, those who are out of danger and on the road to recovery but need continuing care and those who are recovering but have no one to continue to look after them at home.

The hospice, which has to raise three quarters of its £4m a year running costs, had suffered a critical loss in income when it was forced to close its charity shops.

The new arrangement will ease the financial problem as funding will come from central Oxfordshire NHS sources, but once the coronavirus crisis ends and the hospice returns to its usual status, a huge fundraising drive will have to be started.

To support Katharine House Hospice this time, donations can be made at www.khh.org.uk/donate.