Hospice service launched to improve end-of-life care in borough’s nursing homes

24 November 2015

A new service to improve end-of-life care in nursing homes and reduce unnecessary hospital admissions has been launched by Wigan and Leigh Hospice.

Hospice In Your Care Home will operate for an initial two-year period in eight of the borough's nursing homes.

Five experienced, registered nurses and a healthcare assistant from Wigan and Leigh Hospice will be a regular presence in nursing homes, working in partnership with the care home staff to enhance the care of residents and promote their comfort and dignity in the last few weeks and days of life.Hospice in your Care Home

The team will also deliver education and training in how to effectively manage the end of life care of dying residents, whilst supporting those important to that person. The aim is to equip nursing home staff with the necessary practical skills to deliver high quality end of life care which respects the wishes of the resident and those important to them.

Start-up funding of £160,000 has been granted by NHS Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group in partnership with Wigan Council and a further £120,000 was donated by the Wigan and District Cancer Research Committee.

Alan Baron, Chief Executive of the Hospice, said: "Unnecessary hospital admissions are a significant problem for the NHS and distressing for people who wish to die at home or in a care home.

"We have successfully delivered training to healthcare professionals, including nursing home staff, for many years. What makes this different is that the Hospice In Your Care Home team will be on-site in nursing homes offering regular role modelling opportunities and the demonstration of core clinical skills.

"We anticipate that the programme will result in a 20% reduction in hospital admissions from the nursing homes taking part within the initial two-year period."

Nursing home staff will be educated about how to communicate effectively in difficult or distressing situations, such as when residents and their families are planning their future care needs. They will be supported in how to deliver holistic care and to recognise when someone is approaching the end of their life. The team will also help nursing home staff to anticipate what medication and pain relief may be needed for their residents with a life-limiting illness.

Hospice Educator Debbie Dempsey, who will manage the team, said: "Inappropriate hospital admissions are sometimes made in the last few days of life because nursing home staff may lack the support and basic training in palliative care," she said.

"Our Hospice In Your Care Home team will act as role models for nursing home staff and will be available Monday to Friday to offer advice and support. Most people say they want to die at home and the team will aim to make sure this happens wherever possible.

"It also means that those left behind will feel secure in the knowledge that their relative's final wishes were met." 

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