Three new developments to the hospice’s current community service will see St Clare transform the way it is able to provide end of life care for people with life-limiting or terminal illnesses in their own homes.
St Clare Hospice, which cares for people in the west Essex and east Hertfordshire regions of England, recognised a gap in community care for service users and their families during the weekend and bank holiday periods.
Working closely with WECCG – the organisation that plans and buys healthcare for the population of west Essex – key areas for expansion were identified and funding from the commissioners was granted following a successful pilot during the last financial year.
The specialist palliative care team will now be working over a seven-day week (as opposed to the previous five-day service), providing much needed support to patients and families out of office hours.
In addition, a new Hospice at Home service will also be operational by the end of the year. The new service will provide hands-on, personal care and support to patients at the end of life or during times of crisis, allowing people to be cared for in the comfort of their own home.
To further enhance this development, the hospice will be setting up a volunteer-led befriending service, known as St Clare Community Friends. The service will provide support, friendship and practical help. This could include walking the dog, food shopping, or just having someone to come in and do the ironing.
Tanya Curry, the hospice’s chief executive, said: “We are so pleased that WECCG has supported our plans to expand our services which will have such a positive impact on the quality of care for people throughout west Essex when they need us most. We’re very excited to see the difference we can make together.”
Tanya added: “Although as a charity we still rely heavily on the donations and support of our local community, we are so pleased the local commissioners are supporting this fundamental service development for the next 12 months.”
Communications manager, Lois Prior, confirmed to ehospice that the money for the community services is a new stream of funding from WECCG. She said the hospice will be required to prove the effectiveness of the new service once it is in operation:
“We will have to submit evidence next year to the CCG to show that the service is working effectively to ensure funding continues. However, our business plan was put together with sufficient evidence to prove that it was needed and will make a difference to patient care in West Essex.”
Dr Rob Gerlis, chair of West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are delighted to be able to play our part in extending this crucial service so that the specialist palliative care team is available round the clock, seven days a week. This will be of great benefit to those who need their services. The Hospice at Home scheme will also make a big difference to people’s lives.”
He continued: “As a clinically led organisation we work closely with our experienced NHS managers to commission services that local residents need and this is a great example of where we can achieve so much more by working in partnership with others.”
Louise Cameron, director of patient care at St Clare, said she was delighted that the funding bids had been successful.
“Demand for our Specialist Nurses in the community is steadily increasing and we were all too aware that the demand didn’t stop on a Friday evening. Now we can recruit the two extra specialist nurses to ensure we are there for patients at weekends and bank holidays too.”
Chris Crump, voluntary services manager at St Clare, said: “Sometimes it is how to deal with the day-to-day practicalities which cause patients and their families a huge amount of stress. If we can help take some of that away by offering practical help through an expanded volunteer network we will.”
Recruitment is currently underway for two additional specialist palliative care nurses and five healthcare assistants, with plans for the seven-day-a-week service to commence in the autumn and the Hospice at Home and the befriending services shortly after that.
To find out more about the exciting expansion plans at St Clare, visit their website.
And for the latest news about Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), visit Inside Commissioning, a new website dedicated to CCGs.