New project helps terminal hospital patients

PUBLISHED: 15:00 06 August 2012

Nurses and hospice staff invovled in the end of life care project. L-R Juliet Tate, Anna McGrath, Julia Bendall, Pauline White, Alice Vincent, Jade Santwris, Julian Abel, Erzsebet Pavel, Kelly Taylor, Kate Baldry, Gill Price, Beverley Holt, Rose Holbrook

Nurses and hospice staff invovled in the end of life care project. L-R Juliet Tate, Anna McGrath, Julia Bendall, Pauline White, Alice Vincent, Jade Santwris, Julian Abel, Erzsebet Pavel, Kelly Taylor, Kate Baldry, Gill Price, Beverley Holt, Rose Holbrook

Weston Hospicecare

WESTON Area Health Trust and Weston Hospicecare has teamed up to improve end of life care as part of a ground-breaking project.

The collaboration has recently been strengthened by a grant from the National End of Life Care Programme which means a nurse from each hospital ward can receive special training in this field at the hospice.

This will ensure chronically ill patients have their voices heard and receive high quality care.

Figures from Dying Matters – a coalition formed to promote awareness of dying, death and bereavement – show more than two thirds of people prefer to be in their own home when they die.

Figures from the National End of Life Intelligence Network show North Somerset has the highest number of people dying in their home in England, and it is hoped the project will enhance the progress that has been made.

As part of the initiative, 10 nurses took part in five days of intensive training at the hospice, which included approaching conversations with terminally ill patients to find out how they wish to be treated in their final hours and where they would like to die.

Julian Abel, medical director at Weston Hospicecare and consultant in palliative medicine at the trust, has spearheaded this project.

He said: “In hospital it’s often challenging to decide who can realistically and sensitively have that conversation with patients.

“Thanks to the grant, the hospital can cover the nurses’ normal shift rotations, which minimises disruption to hospital services or impact on other patients.”

Underpinning the work being done is a computer system developed in Weston.

Dr Abel said: “We can respect wishes only if we know what they are, so they must be seen by the hospital teams, the out of hours GP services, GP surgeries and the ambulance service, at the very least.”

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