ESSENTIAL end of life care within people’s homes is being rapidly expanded across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough after a partnership decision to fast track the expansion of Hospice at Home services in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, North West Anglia Foundation Trust, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, East of England Ambulance, local authorities, Healthwatch and patient representatives have been working together with palliative care providers Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice and Arthur Rank Hospice Charity for several months to transform and expand end of life care, catering for the counties’ palliative healthcare needs.
However, when the pandemic hit partnership efforts were fast-tracked, in tandem with the healthcare services’ efforts to keep people out of hospital wherever possible and increase the quality of care received at home.
Hospice at Home teams provide specialist hands-on care and support in people’s homes or usual place of residence when they are approaching the end of their life. The expanded service will be available day and night, giving patients and families specialist support at a very difficult time.
An extensive recruitment drive is taking place and teams of healthcare assistants and nurses are now in place in Peterborough and Fenland and East Cambridgeshire, with Arthur Rank Hospice Charity expanding its service to Cambridgeshire City and South Huntingdonshire too.
The service offers at-home palliative care to people in the last weeks of life. It can also support any patient with a palliative diagnosis experiencing a carer crisis for a 72 hour period to enable a longer-term plan of care to be put in place, keeping people at home and out of hospital.
As part of the expansion plans, access to Hospice at Home care will be increased over the coming months, with the aim of having a full service in place by the end of January 2021 giving around the clock palliative care day and night to people at home in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire.
Patients and families are much more able to cope with the support of a Hospice at Home service:
‘We wouldn’t have been able to care for dad at home without your help and kindness. We are feeling so fortunate to have been able to have had that time with him.’ (Family quote provided by Arthur Rank Hospice Charity).
Sara Robins, Director of Clinical Services at Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, commented:
“We are so pleased that through close partnership working with the CCG and Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice, this much-needed service will be available to all those who need it, day or night, across our county.
“Historically, demand for end of life care within people’s own homes has outstripped our resources, meaning that our dedicated team have had to make very difficult choices every day, as to who needs care most. Our Help Us Be There campaign illustrated the great need for expanded Hospice at Home services and continues, helping to fund 200 more nights each year. We continue to strive to raise £100,000 per year to continue this support, but the greater need still remains, so it is wonderful that this expansion of service is now happening.”
Susan Shackleton, Head of Clinical Services at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice, added:
“By working closely and collaboratively with Cambridgeshire & Peterborough CCG, Arthur Rank Hospice Charity and partners, we will be able to provide more care for more families when it really matters. We are looking forward to offering an extended and comprehensive service to our local community, supporting people in their own homes. We know that for many, their final wish is to be at home in familiar surroundings. It is a privilege to fulfil those wishes and help people spend the time they have left in the way they choose.”
Carol Anderson, Chief Nurse, from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG, concluded:
“We are pleased that working with all our partners we can provide this service to local patients and their families. It’s important that people have personalised care and have full access to the care they want at the end of their life. We also feel like maximising dignity and wellbeing is important to all our palliative care patients and by providing end of life care all day and night in patient’s homes is an important step towards this.”
To find out more about the Hospice’s respective Hospice at Home services, please visit arhc.org.uk/hospiceathome/ or sueryder.org/thorpe
To discuss being referred to Hospice at Home services, speak to a healthcare professional: referrals can be made by local GPs, District Nurses, local hospitals and other hospice service teams.