More patients in the last stages of life are dying in their first place of choice thanks to a new partnership initiative in Mansfield, Ashfield, Newark and Sherwood.
NHS, bereavement and hospice organisations have worked together to develop the new End of Life Care Together service which provides a single point of access to deliver care for patients and their loved ones at the end of their life.
Since the service started in October 2018 more than 1,600 patients have been supported to receive care such as hospice at home, attendance at day therapy, nurse outreach care at home, or admission to a hospice if required. Bereavement support is also available to family and carers.
One couple who benefitted from this were Elizabeth Hatton and her husband John from Sutton in Ashfield. Elizabeth was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2017 aged 71 and Nottinghamshire Hospice supported Elizabeth and John with overnight Hospice at Home care, enabling John to have a break and get some sleep.
They came in once or twice a week and were absolutely wonderful. Knowing that I would be able to go to bed and get four to six hours sleep helped enormously because I knew it would be full on again in the morning.
My wife got on with them very well too. I can’t speak too highly of them.
This support meant Elizabeth could stay in her own home until caring for her became too much for John. She then moved to a bedded hospice unit where she died in March 2019.
Although she wasn’t at home when she died she was able to stay at home for a lot longer than she otherwise might have due to the hospice nurses coming overnight.
It was one of her main aims to live to see our grandson Isaac make his first communion at church, which she did. This meant a lot to her.
Jo Polkey, Director of Care at Nottinghamshire Hospice said:
We were pleased to provide support for John and Elizabeth.
So they could stay together for as long as possible and to give John some respite from caring.
John’s story is a moving example of how care services can support people to die with dignity in their place of choice. The main aim of the new End of Life Care Together initiative is to ensure that this is available for all patients in the last year of life across Mid-Nottinghamshire by all services working together
Figures for the first six months show that more patients have died in their place of choice and fewer patients have needed to attend Accident and Emergency as they have been supported by more appropriate services. If a patient does need to come to A&E at King’s Mill Hospital or the Urgent Care Centre at Newark Hospital they can be identified quickly and the service will support them to go home as soon as possible.
Nottingham City Council worked with the NHS in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire to launch the LoveBump campaign to help women to cut down on smoking after statistics revealed almost twice as many women in some parts of the city and county smoke during pregnancy compared to the national average.
Smokers see their GP over a third more often than non-smokers and smoking is linked to nearly half a million hospital admissions per year, so the drive to encourage smokers to quit is a key part of the NHS Long Term Plan.
This service is about all of us caring for patients together at one of the most important times for them and their loved ones.
A calm and dignified death is not only for the patient, we know it also has a significant impact on their loved ones.
Deb Elleston - Lead Nurse for End of Life Care at SFH
Carl Ellis, Head of Service for End of Life Together, said:
Our aim is to offer a range of end of life care services including hospice at home to all those people who have a need for it in the last weeks of life to support the person and their carer with one to one support through the night in their own home.
This has been found to be just as valuable to the carer as to patient.
Carl Ellis - Head of Service for End of Life Together