We know that visiting a hospice for the first time can be a daunting experience and you’ll have a whole range of questions – from basic logistics to bigger questions about care. The team at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice are always on hand to answer any questions you have. We’ve also put together a few of the most common questions we get asked.
Are there any visiting times for the Hospice?
We do not have any specific visiting times at the Hospice. However, from 4 March, our visiting policy only allows two named adult visitors per patient (ideally from the same household), for a maximum of 4 hours a day. This applies for all patients on the Inpatient Unit.
Visitors must wear full PPE at all times on the ward. Staff are on hand to assist visitors with putting on PPE.
We have had to tighten our policy, in light of the current high infection rate from Covid-19 across the UK.
We know how difficult these restricted visiting arrangements are for our patients, their families and loved ones. This policy is reviewed regularly in line with national guidance and we will relax restrictions as soon as it is safe to do so. Thank you for your understanding and co-operation during these exceptional times.
Visitors should contact the nursing team in advance to arrange a suitable visiting time. Please call the Inpatient Unit on 0121 752 8788 or 0121 752 8789.
Visitors should not come to the hospice if they have any Covid symptoms, or if anyone in their household has symptoms or is self-isolating.
Can my relative stay overnight?
During the Covid pandemic, visitors cannot stay overnight. Visits are restricted to 4 hours.
How much does it cost to stay at the hospice?
It does not cost anything to stay. All of our services are free of charge. We get around a third of our funding from the NHS but as a registered charity, we rely heavily on generous, voluntary donations.
I am coming in to get my symptoms controlled, how long do you think I would be in for?
On average patients who come in for symptom control are admitted for a couple of weeks, but everyone is different and plans of care are individualised. You will be reviewed regularly by the medical team and have a named nurse, so please ask them for information about your care if you are not sure.
Am I allowed to go on day leave?
To reduce the risk of infection from Covid, day leave is not currently permitted for patients staying on the Inpatient Unit.
Can I bring my pets in?
Unfortunately, pets cannot currently visit the Hospice.
Can my family bring food in for me and can it be heated up?
Food cannot be brought to the Hospice at this time due to infection control measures.
Is there a fridge I can use?
Fridges are available in the rooms.
Am I allowed to drink alcohol?
We allow alcohol to be consumed in moderate quantities. Alcohol can be brought in by your named visitor.
Am I guaranteed a single room?
Unfortunately we cannot guarantee a single room. We have a limited number of single rooms and we review them on clinical need. If you are very keen to have a single room please discuss this with the Triage Nurse, Rachel, when a bed is offered and she will be able to update you on the beds available.
I have read about the Family Centre can anyone stay in there?
The Family Centre is closed during the pandemic to keep patients, visitors and staff safe. We are sorry that we can’t offer this facility at this time.
Am I allowed to smoke while I am at the Hospice?
There is a designated Smoking Shelter in the Hospice garden (for patient use only). No other smoking is permitted on the Hospice premises or grounds.
What do I need to bring in?
The Triage Nurse will discuss what you need to bring in with you when a bed is offered however a basic list is as follows:
- All medications, including inhalers
- District nursing notes
- Basic toiletries
- Night time clothes
- Day time clothes (if required)
- Small personal items to make your bed space/room more homely
How long do I have to wait for a bed?
Beds are allocated every afternoon with involvement of the Triage Nurse, Medical Team and one of our Community Nurse Specialists. We look at clinical need and prioritise beds on that basis rather than length of time on the waiting list.
I am ready for discharge but need more help at home or I now need a place of care (residential home or nursing home), what happens next?
Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice is a short term care facility and we cannot keep patients longer term. We will talk to you to work out what support on discharge you may need. This may be carer support at home or a more permanent place of care (e.g. nursing home). We will then refer you to Social Services and Continuing Health Care for funding towards this care. Sometimes we start these referrals early on in your admission as they can take several weeks to be processed and for assessments to take place. We will not discharge you from the Hospice, without appropriate level of carer support in place, or before a longer term place of care has been organised. Our therapists (occupational therapists and physiotherapists) will also be working with you when preparing for discharge. If there are any questions regarding this your nurse would be more than happy to update you on the process.
Are there doctors at the Hospice?
We have specialist palliative medicine doctors at the Hospice. They are on site Monday to Friday 9am-5pm and look after patients in the inpatient unit and in the community. There is always a doctor on call overnight and at weekends, who is available to advise the nursing staff and can attend patients in the Hospice if required.
How can I support the work of the Hospice?
It costs £24,658 to run our vital services every day – nearly £14,000 of which needs to be raised through generous donations. There are lots of ways to show your support. You can help us buy much-needed equipment for our Inpatient Unit, take on a virtual challenge, or make a donation online. To find out more in our fundraising section here.
How can I make a complaint/give feedback?
We’re committed to delivering a high standard of service to anyone who is involved with us. Your views can help us to reach this commitment and to ensure continuing improvements to our service. During your inpatient stay, you or your family will be given a questionnaire that we would be grateful if you could complete.. We also welcome feedback in any form. You can also share your feedback confidentially through the independent Care Opinion service, either through the portal on our website or by visiting www.careopinion.org.uk and searching for Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice.
If you have a concern, or we fail to meet your expectations, please speak to a member of staff as soon as possible. You may speak to anyone of us and we will try to help or, if we cannot, we will call a manager.
If you have an idea or a suggestion about how our services might be improved for the benefit of future patients, visitors and supporters, please write it down and let us know. You do not have to leave your name and address, but if you do, we’ll acknowledge your suggestion and let you know how we have responded to it.
What support will my family get from the Hospice?
There is so much to hospice care and it goes beyond addressing just your physical health. Our Family and Carer Support Team includes social workers, bereavement counsellors, spiritual care and children support workers and can help with a multitude of issues that ensure that not only are you living well with a life-limiting illness, but so are those you care about. Whether it’s your housing situation, helping to plan your funeral, bereavement support, or tackling financial worries, our team can help with all sorts of emotional and practical matters.
Is there a café my family can get food/drink from?
As it is currently policy for all visitors to wear PPE during their visit, eating and drinking is not allowed and our café is currently closed. Again we are sorry we cannot provide this facility but the safety of everyone is our highest priority.