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Information on Covid 19 (Coronavirus)

Chestnut Tree House is very closely monitoring the situation concerning the Covid-19 virus and we are in close contact with Public Health England and the NHS. We will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis and provide updates as and when we are able to.


Update 25 March 2020

We are very aware of the pressure that the NHS is under at the moment and the importance of all working together. Some of our nurses will be going to work in the NHS to support the increased demand for care during the coronavirus outbreak.

We remain in contact with our children and families and are offering community visits if they would still like them to go ahead. The House itself remains closed for respite breaks and day visits, but we are still able to provide care for exceptional circumstances, for end-of-life and bereavement support.

During the closure, we are taking the opportunity to do some essential upgrades at the House. These include some improvements to our sensory room and upgrades to air handling units. We want to ensure the House is in the best possible condition, and fulfilling all compliance requirements, so that it’s ready for children and families when we reopen.

Thank you for your continued support. We have been extremely moved by your kind messages and offers of support during this difficult time.

Update 23 March 2020

Following the latest government advice about social distancing we have taken the difficult decision to close all of our retail stores until further notice.

We would like to say a huge thank you to all of our shoppers, donors, volunteers and shop staff who make a huge contribution to local hospice care. We wish you all the best over the coming weeks, and we look forward to seeing you again as soon as it is safe to do so.

Update 20 March 2020

It is with sadness that with effect from Monday 23 March, we will be closing Chestnut Tree House for routine short break admissions for the foreseeable future, in line with Government guidelines for social distancing of vulnerable groups.

We will continue to ensure community based services are available and will be contacting all Chestnut Tree House families to discuss their individual needs over the coming days.

The House will still be able to provide care for exceptional circumstances, end of life and bereavement support which will be assessed on an individual basis.

We will continue to update any further changes to our service at Chestnut Tree House.

Update 19 March 2020

Use trusted sources

In these concerning times, rumours and misinformation are rife. Please use trusted resources for updates on COVID-19, such as the NHS and Public Health England.

We will of course keep you updated if we hear further news but it is important you check the government website every day after 2pm for the most up to date information and further links to NHS guidance.

Update: 18 March 2020

Message from our CEO, Rosemarie FinleyCEO Rosemarie Finley

Thank you for your continued support as hospice care remains our priority during the coronavirus outbreak

These are unprecedented times we find ourselves in, with the situation surrounding the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) changing daily, if not hourly. I want to reassure you that our priority remains with our children and their families, and we are doing everything within our power to ensure hospice care services continue, without compromising the safety of our children, their families, our staff and volunteers. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your continued support.

We are monitoring the situation closely and are in close contact with Public Health England and the NHS so that we can plan and prepare for the necessary steps. Our ambition is to keep the hospice open for children who need it and continue to support families, but we have had to put some additional measures in place and take some decisions regarding upcoming events and fundraising activities.

Our hospice services will, for the moment, continue to run as usual, but with pre-visit calls from our community team to families to check that they aren’t experiencing any coronavirus symptoms and still wish to have a visit.

We want to reassure families that they can still come to Chestnut Tree House, but we are asking people to be particularly vigilant when it comes to washing their hands and not visiting if they are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms.

This is an unsettling time for everyone, but especially those who may feel isolated, so we are trying to come up with ways to offer different services to our families and community. We will be introducing a new service, ‘Helping Hands’, for both Chestnut Tree House and St Barnabas House – providing shopping services, prescription collection and pharmacy delivery. We are also planning to use our retail outlets to enable people to purchase books, DVDs, jigsaws and games, which can then be delivered in the local community. We will be announcing further details about this service shortly.

Our aim is to keep any disruption to an absolute minimum and where possible, maintain all our services and activity to ensure that we can support the children and families who need us, whilst also continuing to raise the funds we need to sustain these services.

As I’m sure you’re aware, fundraising remains vitally important to being able to provide care services for local families, but unfortunately, we have had to the take the decision to postpone all our upcoming events between now and June. We will be contacting participants in due course, announcing updates as soon as we have them, and will review the situation again in early June. We will also stop all door-to-door canvassing with immediate effect. Our retail outlets are currently still trading, but we are monitoring the situation daily and, depending on staffing, opening hours may be affected. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support – past, present and future. Your support enables children’s hospice care to continue.

Take care, and thank you for your ongoing support and understanding.


Update: 13 March 2020

Please be assured that our planning and preparation work has been moving at pace again today.

We want to keep any disruption and delay to an absolute minimum, but we have to prioritise the safety of our patients, their families, our volunteers and staff.

For now all scheduled appointments will continue as normal, unless patients have been individually contacted and told otherwise. We will be reviewing this position again next week. Our community patients are likely to be contacted by our staff prior to home visits.

The advice for anyone in any setting is to follow these main guidelines.

  1. The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of a new continuous cough and/or high temperature. If you have these symptoms, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started. You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
  2. Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so. Use hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.
  3. To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue, and throw the tissue away immediately. Then wash your hands or use a hand sanitising gel.
  4. Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.

At the current time and based on our understanding of what is known of COVID-19 and other similar respiratory viruses, it is likely that older people and those with chronic medical conditions may be vulnerable to severe disease. As more information emerges, recommendations may change.

The decision has been taken by event organisers of the London Marathon and the Brighton Marathon Weekend to postpone until autumn 2020.

Update: 11 March 2020

Chestnut Tree House is monitoring very closely the situation concerning the Covid 19 virus and we are in close contact with Public Health England and the NHS. We are putting in place risk assessment and contingency planning in the event of the outbreak becoming more widespread, guided by the public health information we are receiving. Our services are provided to many people in the hospice and the community and our hospice buildings are visited by many members of the public. It is very much business as usual at the present time in our services and our community shops.

In line with Public Health England’s advice, we do ask members of the public not to visit if they have recently visited any ‘Category 1’ country (China, in particular Hubei Province, Iran, South Korea and certain parts of Northern Italy) until such time as they have self-isolated for 14 days and/or have tested negative for Covid 19. There are a number of other countries which are deemed ‘Category 2’ (find out more here) where there have been some outbreaks and we ask members of the public to exercise discretion around visiting the hospice building or our shops and donations centre if they feel unwell and have one or more of the following – a cough, a high temperature or shortness of breath.

We respectfully ask all visitors to use the hand sanitisers provided when entering and leaving the hospice building. There is hand sanitiser at reception upon entrance and in other locations throughout the hospice. In line with the public health advice, we also want to emphasise the importance of handwashing for 20 seconds on a regular basis and to ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ in the event of any common cold symptoms.

Our aim is to maintain all of our services and activity at an optimal level to ensure that we can support those patients and families who need us, whilst also continuing to raise the funds we need to sustain our services.

For further information, guidance and advice please visit: www.hospiceuk.org/coronavirus-guidance

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.