Published: 12:21, 27 January 2021
| Updated: 13:03, 27 January 2021
A hospice has made more than half of its room available to people dying of coronavirus, as hospitals continue to come under intense pressure due to the pandemic.
Hospice in the Weald has made 14 private rooms immediately available for patients at the end of their lives at its In-Patients ward in Pembury and its base near Mayfield in East Sussex.
This is in response to the continued pressure on beds at Maidstone Hospital and Tunbridge Wells Hospital, which form the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW).
Paul Madden, care director of Hospice in the Weald, said: “As MTW are admitting more than three or even four times the number of daily COVID cases than the previous peak and people are dying in ambulances waiting for hospital admission across the country, we want people to know that you don’t have to die alone in hospital, home, or worse.
"Care from Hospice in the Weald means you can still have visitors - we can offer beds directly to the families of those at the end of their lives, with or without Covid-19.”
As of January 18, MTW was understood to be operating at or around full critical care capacity, meaning there are few spare beds for those most seriously-ill patients requiring ventilation.
A total of 491 people are now reported to have died with the coronavirus at MTW.
Hospice in the Weald provides care for patients at the end of life and support for their loved ones, free of charge.
Its chief executive Rob Woolley said: “Never has there been a more pressing time than in the current situation with local hospitals at full capacity and no visitors allowed.
"Hospice in the Weald caters for people to live out their final days, weeks or months comfortably with their loved ones around them and we have immediate availability that people may not know about.
"All it takes is one phone call and we can quickly support families and care for their loved ones in comfort.”