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Information on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

St Barnabas 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 daily and provide updates as and when we are able to.


The information on this page includes health advice, the latest guidance on visiting the hospice, updates to care services, charity shops, donations, fundraising events and volunteering.

Health advice

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.

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.

Visiting the hospice

All visitors and people attending the hospice for an outpatient clinic must wear a face mask or face covering at all times. This includes when in a patient’s room and must not be removed. If visitors present without a mask or face covering, a supply will be available at Reception. Guidance on the suitable type of face covering can be found here.

If you have a medical condition that exempts you from wearing a face covering, please inform reception who will call the Nurse in Charge. There is also exemption for children under 11 if they cannot tolerate a face covering.

Please maintain social distancing throughout your visit. Anyone showing symptoms of coronavirus should not visit, even if these symptoms are mild or intermittent, due to the risk they pose to others. This is important for infection prevention and control.

Visiting arrangements may change in accordance with Government advice.

Additional precautions

On admission, we are testing patients for COVID-19. Only one member of that patients’ household is allowed to visit whilst we are awaiting the swab result. Patients that have a negative COVID-19 swab result may have two visitors at any one time. Should other people wish to visit, there will need to be a ‘swap over’ outside of the building to maintain social distancing.

Patients that have a positive COVID-19 swab result will have restricted visiting. Before visiting a patient, please contact the clinical area to discuss appropriate arrangements with the Nurse in Charge as it is dependent on individual circumstances.

Keeping in touch with loved ones

We understand that this is very distressing for families and friends so we want to help in any way we can to keep loved ones in touch with each other during these difficult times.

We have placed iPads in every patient’s room and are encouraging, where possible, the use of mobile phones so people can stay in touch via FaceTime, etc.

We would also like to enable loved ones to write to each other and to send their letters to our dedicated email address – lettersforrelatives@stbh.org.uk. Our staff will monitor the emails each day and print them out for our patients or read the letters to them.

Access to the Chapel

Unfortunately, we’ve had to make the decision to limit access to the hospice Chapel for external visitors and apologise for any inconvenience. If you were planning a visit and would like a candle lit of your behalf, please contact our main reception on 01903 706300. Our chaplaincy team are at the hospice and will be happy to light a candle on your behalf.

Thank you for working with us through these challenging times to ensure the continued wellbeing of everyone at that the hospice.

Help Healthwatch to help us

Be their eyes and ears to support the NHS and each other at this difficult time

These past few weeks, whilst challenging for many, have proven that we are great at working collaboratively and supporting each other. Across the organisation, many of us have been working #TogetherApart to ensure that our patients and their families still receive the support that they need. Now, we need to extend our amazing teamwork culture into the wider community.

The Helpdesk Hub team at Healthwatch, West Sussex need us and those we care for to be the ‘eyes and ears’ of our communities; to help identify what is working well and where there are gaps within the provision and delivery of health and social care services in West Sussex at this critical time. With our help, Healthwatch will be able to use statutory powers to influence change and support services to make a positive difference for the patients and families who need us.

You can share your thoughts and experiences via phone (0300 012 0122), email or online. Examples of the experiences you might like to comment on include:

  • Information that is confusing or contradictory in relation to COVID-19 or any other health and social care services
  • Services or initiatives that are working well, having adapted to the pandemic
  • Any gaps or barriers to accessing support

Healthwatch will feedback any changes that occur or useful information obtained from their data, but to ensure the highest accuracy and maximum benefit to all, our insight is essential for them to deliver this.

To find out more about Healthwatch, visit their website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages.

Bereavement Support

Sussex Health and Care Partnership have launched a bereavement guide supporting those who have lost a loved one during the Covid-19 pandemic, which includes practical information, signposting to further support and information on the new Sussex Bereavement Helpline

Care services

When the pandemic was declared, in line with Government guidance we took the decision to close our Day Hospice and café, and put our Hospice Outreach Project on hold. Outpatient and therapy services also had to cease and all visiting stopped, with the exception of visits to patients in their last days of life.

At the hospice itself, we opened five new beds, bringing the total number to 25 in order to provide additional support to the community.

Throughout the crisis, our Community and Hospice at Home teams have seen their caseloads increase by 50% and we have cared for so many people and their families during these exhausting and stressful times. They were helped by members of the care team at our children’s hospice, Chestnut Tree House, who were redeployed at the start of the pandemic. The team members have now returned to Chestnut Tree House but their help and support has been invaluable during the last few months.

When the Day Hospice closed we continued to support these patients by introducing our new Helping Hands scheme, offering social and practical support, like a shopping service and prescription delivery to hospice patients who don’t have a network of friends and family. We have also kept in touch via telephone, making hundreds of calls to patients to help with their wellbeing and offer some social contact, and also through virtual outpatient sessions.

Throughout the crisis, our Family Services Team have continued to offer bereavement counselling and support via telephone and video calls.

As constraints have started to ease, we have begun to welcome back Day Hospice patients to a reduced service for a few hours, three days a week involving physiotherapy, activities, wellbeing sessions, refreshments and the opportunity to socialise in line with social distancing rules. We are also running outpatient clinics and physiotherapy sessions for those patients able to come in to the hospice.

Visiting restrictions have lifted slightly. Our café remains closed, strict hygiene measures are in place and visitors are asked to wear masks. Masks and hand sanitiser are available at reception.

Thank you for working with us through these challenging times to ensure the continued wellbeing of everyone at the hospice.

Charity shops

All of our St Barnabas House shops have now reopened and are welcoming back their customers. Please see individual shop pages for opening days and times.

Shops are only able to accept limited donations, because of the need to quarantine and store items. Space is restricted therefore donations cannot be accepted once a safe capacity has been reached. Please contact your local shop for more details and before making a journey.

We can also accept donations in our warehouse. We are limited as to the types of donation we can take at the moment.

For full information on our shops, our furniture delivery and collection services and how to donate, please read our latest retail update.


Thank you for your continued support. We have been extremely moved by your kind messages and offers of support during this difficult time. This is a difficult time for everyone, but if you are able to consider supporting us with a donation at this time, it would be greatly appreciated.

Your support enables us to continue providing the care that is so vitally important to the people we work with – now and in the future. Hospice care remains our priority during the coronavirus outbreak.

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

Unfortunately, we are currently unable to send physical thank you letters. However, we would like to say an enormous thank you to every single one of you for donating and supporting your local community who rely on hospice care. Thank you.

Fundraising events

Fundraising remains vitally important to being able to provide care services for local families. You can find all the latest details of changes to specific fundraising events, including the Brighton and London Marathon, by visiting our challenge events page.

If you are planning to organise your own fundraising event, please follow the most up to date NHS and government advice. If you would like to talk to us, please contact the Fundraising Team.

On Wednesday 18 March we temporarily stopped all door-to-door canvassing with immediate effect. As the constraints are easing, we have reintroduced face-to-face fundraising for a trial period starting from 25 August with small teams of canvassers that will be fundraising door-to-door and in supermarkets in the local community. We will closely monitor and regulate the work of our canvassers. The St Barnabas House Lottery provides a significant, regular income to support local people who need vital hospice care.


The majority of volunteers who come into St Barnabas House, into the retail shops and those visiting in the community stopped their volunteering in March.

However we are now carefully reintegrating volunteers back into key roles onsite, and all our retail shops are now open. We are inviting our retail volunteers back to their roles if they feel comfortable to do so, and welcoming applications for new retail volunteers.

For more information please see our latest COVID-19 update for volunteers.