A mosque in northwest England will open its doors to end-of-life patients at the end of April, in a community initiative which aims to free up hospital beds amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Masjid E Ghosia in Bolton is temporarily closed to worshippers because of a lockdown in Britain that came into force on March 23 to prevent the spread of the virus.
But its main congregational hall and 12 rooms, which are normally used for prayers, community functions and children’s Islamic classes, will instead provide end-of-life care to 23 people who need it, under the guidance of Dr. Mohammed Jiva MBE, 50, who came up with the initiative and is leading it.
Jiva, who is a GP came up with the idea of using the mosque premises to care for patients for whom hospitals feel they cannot do much for, freeing up much needed space for other patients.
He said he wanted the mosque to continue being a community hub during the coronavirus pandemic, and to use its facilities to look after end-of-life patients to reduce the burden on local hospitals.
The intention and motivation behind the nightingale hospital is to deliver end of life care within the mosque to provide dignity and support to those who the healthcare service has little more to offer other than respite care, therefore freeing up space at hospitals for Covid-19 patients.
He hopes to have the first patients coming into the mosque in two weeks time, but he says there is still a lot of work to be done to get everything ready and prepared.
The mosque will have the same standards as any hospital, and he believes these sorts of community initiatives are key in the response to the Covid crisis.
Dr Jiva said: “About a month ago the mosque asked me for advice on how to deal with the coronavirus outbreak and it became clear it needed to be locked down.
The idea was enthusiastically agreed to by the mosque committee, which had invited Jiva to advise them on putting in place restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 before the lockdown was announced.
“It’s likely that there are certain cohorts of our community who are automatically going to be refused access to interventional health care because of their ages or their longstanding medical problems,” he said.
“Difficult decisions are being made across the country about who out of a group of people will be given a ventilation bed based on the probability of their recovery. It’s a difficult decision and an ethical one that hospitals will have to make,” he said.
The Mosque is duplicating what is happening at the London ExCel and Manchester GMEX conference centres. With a view to provide a similar service to the residents of Bolton.
The project is being supported by a group of Muslim doctors, including Dr. Zahid Chauhan OBE, whose work with the homeless has been recognized by the queen, Bolton Local Medical Committee Chairman Dr. Sharif Uddin, and Dr. Rauf Munshi, a consultant acute physician at the Bolton National Health Service (NHS) Foundation Trust.
“If hospitals have patients who they feel they can’t do much for, they can discharge them. If discharging them back home or into care homes isn’t an option, they may want to consider using us, and we’ll provide them with care,”
The community in Bolton and surrounding areas has rallied behind the concept and the call for volunteers and donations has been overwhelming, with 60 people volunteering their services and £10,000 ($12,485) raised in donations within weeks.
The holy month of Ramadhan less than 10 days away, and the Muslim community will rally around this and other projects.
He has received calls and emails from all sections of society since writing a letter asking for people to volunteer.
Volunteers include GPs, hospital doctors, nurses, opticians, orthoptists, pharmacists, non-medical professionals, and people who have no health care experience but are willing to use their facilities to help the project.
A rota system for volunteers is being developed that will allow the smooth running of the facility and highlight gaps in the provision of care that may need to be filled.
“Certain doctors and health care staff have half days or days off from their work, during which they’ll volunteer. This is where we need to get the rota in place, so we can find the voids where we may need to incorporate professional employed staff to make sure we have 24/7 cover,” he added.
“We have over 60 volunteers for now. If we need volunteers they’ll be forthcoming, and if we need funding that will also be forthcoming.”
For more information visit the Masjid E Ghosia mosque Facebook page.