East coast partnership celebrates first year of increasing access to palliative care

Categories: Care, Featured, and People & Places.
Hanna McDowell, Head of Therapy at St Elizabeth Hospice

St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich and East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH), a social enterprise providing NHS community health services across Norfolk and Suffolk, are celebrating the first anniversary of a partnership that has helped increase free specialist palliative care provision in the area.

Since launching in April 2019, more than 1000 patients living with conditions such as cancer, heart failure, pulmonary hypertension and neurological disorder, and their families have received free care through the partnership’s varied specialist care provision. An average of 365 people per month have been supported by the service’s 24 hour advice line, OneCall.

The partnership between the two organisations has resulted in St Elizabeth Hospice providing specialist consultant support to six palliative care beds in Beccles Hospital, which is run by ECCH. The service also offers day care facilities, and sees 11 clinical nurse specialists visiting patients in their own homes.

A year after launching, the two organisations are reflecting on the positive impact their service has brought to the coastal communities of Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and the surrounding area, while also outlining their ambition to help more people living with life-limiting conditions in these communities. Hanna McDowell, Head of Therapy at St Elizabeth Hospice, said: “We are encouraging everyone in the region diagnosed with a life-limiting condition, including family members affected, to get in touch as soon as possible so we can help you with guidance, care or support.

“The aim for this joint initiative is to ensure greater parity in the levels and range of care available to the communities of Great Yarmouth and Waveney in comparison to the rest of the region.

“We have made great progress but there is still work to do, and we want to continue expanding this service to enable us to help more patients and their families.”

The joint initiative was established to provide free specialist palliative care from the point of diagnosis of a life-limiting condition. This is facilitated by one united team coordinating and simplifying the care service for patients and their families, meaning it can be more effective at managing their last few days in the way they wish.

The service also offers medical support to the James Paget Hospital in Great Yarmouth, and emotional wellbeing and bereavement support as well as having a dedicated presence at the Louise Hamilton Centre, a local palliative care unit. The partnership also has future ambitions to run additional services from here.

ECCH’s Executive Director of Operations, Adele Madin said: “We are delighted to be making a real difference to people with palliative care needs in Great Yarmouth and Waveney. This service has provided options for how that care is delivered which simply didn’t exist before and we aim to continue to look for ways to build on that and improve choices for people in the future.”

For more information visit St Elizabeth Hospice

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