Hospice to offer help to patients at home

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Saint Catherine’s Hospice in Scarborough is launching an innovative new project to bring hospice services into the homes to patients and their families.

The new scheme, run in partnership with other health professionals, will mean that more patients will be able to end their days where most want to be – at home.

Saint Catherine’s is recruiting new staff for its hospice at home team and will launch the joint service as a pilot scheme in January.

The aim is to plug current gaps in service so that referred patients and their families will have access to specialist palliative care expertise during the day and at any hour of the night.

The new service will link into Palcall, the hospice’s out-of-hours telephone helpline, and will mean that families in crisis can be offered a home visit.

Community manager, Sarah Locker, said that the hospice would be working in partnership with Marie Curie and NHS district nurses to provide a streamlined service to patients, mainly in the final stages of a life-limiting illness. One aim was to ensure that patients who wanted to remain at home could do so with support.

“We hope this will make a big difference to patients and their families,” she said. “We know the nights in particular can be very long for carers looking after relatives who are very ill.

“We hope that launching this new service with our valued partners will help our patients and their carers to have all the support, expertise and reassurance they need, day and night.”

Saint Catherine’s has kick-started the funding for the pilot scheme thanks to generous supporters who left legacies to the hospice over the past year.

The pilot will initially cover Scarborough and Filey but if successful, the aim is to expand into other areas.

Marie Curie already has a team based at Saint Catherine’s which runs an evening service but the expanded scheme – yet to be named – will introduce a 24-hour service, seven days a week.

The first round of recruitment for a team leader, senior nurse, other nurses and health care assistants is now underway. Once fully running, the service will have created 17 new hospice jobs.

The announcement of the new scheme comes as Saint Catherine’s joins hospices all over Britain in promoting the work of hospices out in the community.

Hospice Care Week, which starts on Monday and has the theme of “hospice care, everywhere” and celebrates the work of hospice staff not just in their own buildings but in people’s homes, care homes and hospitals. Saint Catherine’s already works in all these places but the new scheme will be a big expansion into more work out in the community.

The new project is the culmination of many months of work by Saint Catherine’s under the leadership of chief executive Lee Barker. Lee leaves the hospice tomorrow after ten years of helping thousands of families. During that time, the number of patients cared for each year has reached around 2,000 and many are receiving hospice services closer to home as support in the community increases.

Mike Wilkerson, currently chief executive at Rotherham Hospice, moves to become chief executive of Saint Catherine’s later this month. The hospice provides care for patients across a 1,600 square mile area, including Scarborough, Filey, Bridlington, Driffield, Hunmanby, Ryedale and Whitby.