THE EXPERTISE of a team at Wigan and Leigh Hospice team is being used to support homeless and vulnerably housed people in Wigan and Leigh.
A grant of £25,000 was awarded by The Masonic Foundation for a project to support people who have palliative and end of life care needs and do not have a permanent home.
Initially the project, led by the Hospice in your Care Home team, is focussed on getting as many staff as possible who work with homeless or vulnerably housed people onto the hospice’s 12-week training course ‘Foundations in Palliative and End of Life Care’.
The project is being delivered in partnership with Wigan Council.
Debbie Jones, Manager of Hospice in your Care Home, said: “We want to ensure that the wishes and preferences of the homeless and vulnerably housed are heard and respected, so that they have equal access to palliative and end of life care.
“We also want to identify people with health problems earlier on, rather than reach them only in the last 12 months of life, so support is in place before it is needed.
“These are people who rarely access hospice services and we want to remove barriers to improve end of life care and promote choice and dignity. We feel that hospice care should be available to anyone who needs it and we are excited that this project will help us to reach these harder to reach communities but also educate staff who work with these vulnerable individuals. Therefore, even if they don’t access hospice care directly, they will have benefitted from our expertise in palliative and end of life care.”
Organisations working with the hospice and Wigan Council’s Homelessness Services include The Brick; Health Outreach team; and the Drug and Alcohol Service.
As part of the project each organisation will be offered the opportunity to have regular meetings with the hospice team to identify any service users who are deteriorating or are at risk of deteriorating so they can work in partnership to promote future planning for their care.
Debbie said: “The organisations are very positive about the project and especially keen to get their staff more education and training on caring for people who are at end of life. They are being offered the core training we already deliver to nursing and residential homes, Extra Care and Learning Disability teams in the Borough. We do recognise though, that there will be some additional bespoke training required, which will be unique to this area of care and we will work with each setting to tailor this to their needs.”
Councillor Keith Cunliffe, cabinet portfolio holder for adult services and deputy leader of Wigan Council, said: “We are really pleased that Wigan Council is able to work alongside Wigan and Leigh Hospice to deliver this important service.”
Wigan Council’s cabinet portfolio holder for homelessness, Councillor Susan Gambles, added: “We really hope that this will further enhance our partnership approach, helping us to support those who are facing homelessness in the borough.”