The hospice holds specialist heart clinics three days a week in its John Cheverton Centre. Community Heart Failure Nurse Specialist Georgina Newnham explained:
“Most of those clinics are held with patients who have significant heart failure and who are becoming socially isolated, and one of the reasons we hold clinics at the hospice is to show them what the John Cheverton Centre can offer.”
“Some patients will receive physiotherapy, some will access the hospice’s psychological services and some use complementary therapies to improve their confidence and outlook. Others come in to the hospice’s inpatient unit to receive respite care, and they will remain under our specialist care whilst they are here.”
Newnham has worked at the hospice for many years. Commenting on the services they offer, she said:
“It’s important for heart patients and their families to come and look at the hospice’s facilities, certainly in the John Cheverton Centre, so that those who might have previously thought of the hospice as a place of death can see that it is actually full of light, laughter and mischief, and somewhere that you can choose to go to, and you go home at the end of the day. All of my patients feel really safe when they come here.”
“We have really integrated care and patients who are known to the heart failure team have equal access – they have never been denied any of the support or use of the hospice’s facilities. We, as heart specialists, also give something back to the hospice, through training and education to make sure hospice staff feel supported and understand the disease, as well as the kind of death a heart patient will experience. I think we are ahead of a lot of other places.”
Newnham’s comments are in response to the publication of the Heart Failure and Hospice Care report by Hospice UK and the British Heart Foundation. The report’s aim is to raise awareness of the benefits of hospice-enabled care for people with heart failure, and calls for better relationships between cardiology specialists, primary care and hospices.