Hospice and mental health staff exchange expertise

Categories: Care and People & Places.

A partnership between Dove House Hospice in Hull and Maister Lodge, a local hospital inpatient unit for older people with mental health conditions has proven hugely beneficial, paving the way for future collaboration.

For six months the hospice worked with Maister Lodge to provide temporary residence to patients with dementia while it underwent a major refurbishment by Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust. Staff from both organisations benefited from exchanging ideas, supporting each other, taking part in training, presentation days together, and even swapping shifts.

The collaboration has had a huge impact, with nursing staff from Dove House stating their understanding of dementia has improved. Linda Johnson, Head of Clinical Services, explained further:

“In palliative care a few years ago, dementia was seen as this scary thing – staff did not feel they had the skills. But it is about seeing how other people work, sharing skills and realising that it is often not that different.”

Hospice staff  were also able to give their mental health colleagues advice and support on medication, including specific guidance on using a syringe driver instead of repeated injections, which can cause distress.

Both services recognise the importance of high quality end of life care for people with dementia. Jo Inglis, a Charge Nurse at Maister Lodge, said:

“There is such a lot of focus on having a good life, but perhaps there still is not enough focus on dying well with dementia. Patients here have had good deaths.”

Maister Lodge moved back to their home late in July and both teams are now making plans to continue joint training sessions and to set up ongoing mentoring and mutual support.

For more information visit Dove House Hospice