COVID-19: Western Devon palliative service guide

27 May 2020

St Luke's Hospice

  • St Luke's Hospice Core services will continue to run but will return to Pre-Covid level of activities as the pandemic eases
  • Inpatient Unit (IPU): return to normal level of capacity (12 beds) as of the 1st July if downward trend in Covid cases continues
  • Community CNS/AHP teams: will retain use of AccuRX and will continue with teams working remotely were possible and ensuring any office-based work is in line with government guidance regarding creating a Covid secure environment
  • End of Live Urgent Care Team: No changes but will reduce capacity to normal levels as of the 1 July, redeployed staff will return to substantive posts over the summer period
  • Education: from 1 September we will return restart our program of training following risk assessments and any adjustments required. We will work to implement the use of more on-line teaching methods e.g.: Webinars.
  • Bereavement helpline: will continue to the end of August. We will evaluate it usefulness with local organisations and decide at that point to continue dependent on the evaluation and access to ongoing funding to do so.

Rowcroft Hospice

  • Core services will continue to run
  • Inpatient Unit (IPU): most of our 'at risk' staff have returned to the unit
  • Staff redeployed to the unit will return to their substantive posts elsewhere in the organisation by June 1st, excepting one staff member still shielding awaiting further national guidance and one part-time consultant still needing to work remotely
  • Hospice@Home: this service will resume its pre-COVID capacity from July 1st as staff deployed into this service are required to return to their substantive posts. Capacity will therefore reduce to circa 8 patients per day from this date
  • Community: no changes. We will retain the use of AccuRX to continue to support remote assessments and reduce the need for home visits unless needed until COVID is no longer a threat
  • Complementary/Music TX: We are considering what this offer will be, particularly for Comp TX given the requirement to wear PPE within 2m of patients
  • OPD: following risk assessment of the environment to ensure it is COVID-secure we will reopen the use of the clinic facilities for medical, physio and Comp TX consultations/treatment.
  • Education: from 1 September we plan to restart our programme of training following risk assessment and any adjustments required. We will also look to use more on-line training methods such as webinars as well, keeping face to face for the essential training programmes like advance communication skills training whilst maintaining COVID-secure practices
  • COVID Emotional helpline: we will evaluate the use of the service before the end of August when it is due to finish and we will decide with our colleagues whether to there is a need to continue it and any ongoing costs that would need to be considered


This information provides guidance on the management of palliative patients across Western Devon during the Covid-19 pandemic. The information is based on Community Palliative Care Western locality guidance – COVID-19.

Please find below guidance around managing patients who are in the community with COVID-19

For advice or questions regarding this guidance, please contact the St Luke's/Rowcroft HospiceTeams

For further guidance of palliative care management please refer to the Southwest Devon Formulary Chapter 16.

COVID-19: NHS Devon CCG-End of Life Care Resource for GPs (inc.links to the Formulary Guidance)

Referrals to inpatient Unit

St Luke's Hospice Inpatient Unit
  • Currently St Luke's Inpatient Unit is not accepting admissions for patients who test positive for COVID-19
  • There is also currently a no visiting policy to restrict the spread of the virus, however for those who are in the last days of life, restricted visiting may be allowed on compassionate grounds depending on individual circumstances
Rowcroft Hospice Inpatient Unit
  • To discuss possible in-patient admission 9am - 5pm Tel: 01803 210810 or 24/7 advice line 01803 210800 for out of hours enquiries

​Urgent advice

Plymouth and West Devon
  • For advice on complex cases or a second opinion please call the duty ITU consultant via Derriford switchboard – 01752 202082
South Devon
  • For advice on decision making regarding whether admission to hospital is appropriate please call Critical Care GP support rota via Torbay and South Devon hospital switchboard on 01803 614567

Western Devon and Torbay and South Devon contact information

St Luke's Hospice
  • Telephone: 01752 964200 (Monday-Sunday 08:30am - 17:00pm)
  • Out of Hours Number: 01752 401172
Rowcroft Hospice
  • 24/7 advice line 01803 210800
  • Community team Monday to Friday, 8.30am - 5pm 01803 210811
  • Community team weekends and bank holidays 9am – 1pm 01803 210812
  • To discuss possible in-patient admission 9am - 5pm 01803 210810 or 24/7 advice line 01803 210800 for out of hours enquiries
  • Hospice at Home 01803 217620

​Supporting Information

GP Information

COVID-19: NHS Devon CCG-End of Life Care Resource for GPs (inc.links to the Formulary Guidance)

Patient Information

St Luke's Hospice website - Social Care Team are available in working hours to support patients and families – Telephone: 01752 964200

Rowcroft Hospice website - 24/7 advice line 01803 210800

Pathway Group

This guideline has been signed off on behalf of the NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group

Last updated: 08-06-2020


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