Exciting community developments for St Clare’s Hospice

Communities / Sat 10th Aug 2013 am31 08:33am

ST CLARE’S Hospice is delighted to announce three new and exciting community developments that will transform the way it is able to provide end of life care for people with life-limiting or terminal illnesses in their own homes throughout west Essex.

The hospice has been all too aware that their existing community service needed to operate over the weekends to ensure they can respond to the needs of people and their families when they are facing the end of their life and their wish is to be cared for at home.

Working closely with West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (WECCG), the organisation that plans and buys healthcare for the population of west Essex, St Clare has identified the need for service improvements.

As a result WECCG has granted them vital funding to develop their services.

The Specialist Palliative Care Team will now be working over a 7 day week (as opposed to 5 days), providing much needed support to patients and families over the weekend and bank holiday periods.

Integral to this development is the start of a new Hospice at Home Service which will be operational by the end of the year. The new Hospice at Home service will provide hands on personal care and support to patients at the end of life or during times of crisis, allowing people to be cared for in the comfort of their own home.

To enhance this development, they will be setting up a volunteer-led befriending service to ensure that patients and their families are completely supported in all aspects of everyday living.

The St Clare Friends Service will provide support, friendship and practical help; this could include walking the dog, food shopping, or just have someone to come in and do the ironing.

Tanya Curry, the Hospice’s Chief Executive, said: “We are so pleased that WECCG has supported our plans to expand our services which will have such a positive impact on the quality of care for people throughout west Essex when they need us most. We’re very excited to see the difference we can make together.”

Tanya added, “Although as a charity we still rely heavily on the donations and support of our local community, we are so pleased the local commissioners are supporting this fundamental service development for the next 12 months.”

Funding for the 7-day Specialist Nurses and the Hospice at Home schemes has been negotiated through WECCG’s Older Peoples’ Programme Board and the WECCG End of Life Steering Group.

Dr Rob Gerlis, chair of West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are delighted to be able to play our part in extending this crucial service so that the specialist palliative care team is available round the clock, seven days a week.

“This will be of great benefit to those who need their services. The Hospice at Home scheme will also make a big difference to people’s lives.

“As a clinically-led organisation we work closely with our experienced NHS managers to commission services that local residents need and this is a great example of where we can achieve so much more by working in partnership with others.”

Louise Cameron, Director of Patient Care at St Clare, said she was delighted that the funding bids had been successful.

“These are fantastic improvements which will have a huge effect on how we can care for people who wish to be cared for at the end of their life, in their own homes. Demand for our Specialist Nurses in the community is steadily increasing and we were all too aware that the demand didn’t stop on a Friday evening. Now we can recruit the two extra Specialist Nurses to ensure we are there for patients at weekends and bank holidays too.”

Louise added: “A Hospice at Home team provides the professional skills and response required to support people – and their carers – to remain at home, and will always aim to prevent any unnecessary admissions to hospital.”

Chris Crump, Voluntary Services Manager at St Clare, said: “Sometimes it is how to deal with the day-to-day practicalities which cause patients and their families a huge amount of stress. If we can help take some of that away by offering practical help through an expanded volunteer network we will.”

The new seven day service will commence in the autumn with the Hospice at Home and the befriending service shortly after that.

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