Son of hospice patient calls for 'sensible easing' of visiting restrictions

Jo Devo with one of her two sons, Joseph (middle) with her grandsons George Devo at the front and Jacob Devo at the back

Jo Devo with one of her two sons, Joseph (middle) with her grandsons George Devo at the front and Jacob Devo at the back - Credit: Joseph Devo

The son of a cancer patient receiving palliative care at a city hospice is calling for a sensible approach when it comes to visiting restrictions.

Jo Devo, 78, from Norwich, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in mid-August.

However she was transferred to the Priscilla Bacon Lodge (PBL) two weeks ago after Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital staff identified her cancer had spread.

Her son, Joseph Devo, 48, has praised her care and understands the pressures of Covid and keeping people safe - but said a more "nuanced" approach to visiting was needed.

He said restrictions allow each terminally-ill patient to nominate four people who are able to visit, with two of these people allowed a visit a day, contained to a one-hour slot.

Patients in their very final days of life can receive a visit of up to two hours per day - with the hospice saying the measures are in place to ensure the safety of patients.

Mr Devo said: "There are a lot of people who want to help mum and would support her."

Priscilla Bacon Lodge

Priscilla Bacon Lodge in Norwich - Credit: David Hannant

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He said the hospice allowed him and his two twin sons to see his "adventurous" mother on her birthday last week which "visibly lifted her".

The 48-year-old described the current Covid visiting restrictions as "blunt" adding: "It should be sensibly managed."

A spokesperson for Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust said: “Our senior management team have been in regular communication with Mr Devo. We seek to work with families and carers to compassionately assess requests outside of our visiting guidelines on a case by case basis, and are committed to being as flexible as we safely can be.

“Our visiting guidelines for PBL have been developed to ensure the safety of all the vulnerable patients we care for, their carers, visitors, and our staff at the specialist palliative care unit. These are reviewed on a weekly basis.

“We are looking at whether we can safely increase the number of people allowed to visit and exploring options to enable us to extend the length and frequency of visits for those at the end of life in as many circumstances as possible, whilst continuing to meet mandatory guidance on social distancing in hospitals.” 

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