Hospice and care home staff exchange skills in new programme

Categories: Education.
Wigan and Leigh’s Hospice In Your Care Home team, Debbie Dempsey is pictured middle 

Wigan and Leigh Hospice has embarked on a staff exchange programme with a local care home.

A nurse and a nursing assistant from Rosebridge Court nursing home in Wigan each spent a week working alongside the nursing and medical teams on the Inpatient Unit at Wigan and Leigh Hospice in Greater Manchester, to learn more about palliative and end of life care.

As part of the exchange programme, in the New Year a nurse and healthcare assistant from the hospice’s inpatient unit will go to work at the care home for a week.

Staff nurse Jamie Duncan-Noke, 31, from Rosebridge Court, works on a generalised mental health unit for adults aged 18-65 which currently has 22 residents. Commenting on the week he spent at the hospice, he said:

“I thought it would be a really interesting opportunity to see an alternative place of care, particularly given what the hospice offers to the community.

“While I have been at the hospice I have helped with re-positioning a syringe driver and learnt more about the controlled drugs used in palliative care. I feel quite humbled that I have had this opportunity and it makes me want to develop my knowledge more in palliative care and the principles and practices behind it.

“This experience has made me think differently. When someone on my unit does have palliative care needs I will feel more prepared for it professionally and personally. Now I feel more comfortable and confident to be able to support individuals approaching the end of life.”

Tess Morales, 50, works as a nursing assistant on the dementia unit at Rosebridge Court. She spent a week shadowing healthcare assistant Dawn Harrison on the Inpatient Unit at the hospice. Tess said:

“I have been at Rosebridge for about 12 years so when I heard about this programme I thought it would be a great experience and an opportunity to learn more about end-of-life care.

“I have enjoyed spending time with patients and I have seen how the nursing staff speak to families and patients about their wishes. That way of communicating with people who are at the end of their life, the respect shown and the importance of understanding their wishes, is something I will take back with me.”

The programme was initiated by Debbie Dempsey, manager of the Hospice In Your Care Home team at the hospice. The team has been a regular presence in nursing homes in the area since 2015, working closely with staff to provide training and equip them with the practical skills they need to provide compassionate end of life care, as well as helping to reduce unnecessary hospital admissions. The team had already been working with Rosebridge Court for two years.

Debbie said:

“There have not been many instances as far as I am aware of an exchange programme of this sort taking place between a hospice and a care home. However, this was something both Rosebridge and ourselves were keen to try. Our aim is to try and raise awareness of the barriers to delivering end-of-life care in diverse settings. The care home staff have experienced how we do it here and will take back the learning to implement in their care home. In return, our staff will be exposed to the challenges that the care home staff face and learn from them in return.

Rosebridge Court has specialist mental health and dementia units, so spending time there will give our staff the opportunity to learn more about caring for patients at the end of life who also have mental health problems.”

In December the Hospice In Your Care Home team will visit the Rosebridge Court to find out what changes have been implemented as a result.

For more information visit Wigan and Leigh Hospice

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