In January 2009, NHS Lincolnshire completed a review of palliative care inpatient bed provision and usage. This review detailed current service provision and set out the rationale for this service.
As a result, NHS Lincolnshire committed to commissioning 22 additional community inpatient beds across the county in order to prevent inappropriate hospital admissions and support choice for those people dying in acute care settings and at home.
The report indicated that six of these beds should be commissioned in Boston, Lincolnshire and The Butterfly Hospice was successful in securing the tender in partnership with Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust.
The six-bedded inpatient unit will provide palliative and end of life care to more than 150 people each year from across East Lincolnshire, offering choice and local access to dedicated facilities, as well as expert nursing care.
Patient care will be nurse-led and supported by general practitioners and other health and social care professionals.
Driven by the vision of a person-centred approach throughout the service design, the result integrates a number of existing resources available in the community under one roof.
Previously, choices for people at the end of life were very limited, but now clinical treatment in the hospice unit will benefit those people who were previously admitted to the local hospital as the only option, regardless of their wishes and those of the family.
Matron Natalie McKee at Lincolnshire Community Health Service NHS Trust said: “In partnership with the Butterfly Hospice Trust, we have worked closely with our commissioners, Lincolnshire East Clinical Commissioning Group, to ensure we can offer quality and seamless inpatient support closer to home for our patients. For LCHS, this has been an exciting opportunity to build on the care and support available in the community and find an innovative and integrated solution which benefits the patients, their families, and the professionals responsible for delivering care.”
Care for each individual patient will be led by a key worker, who is their case manager/district nurse, and coordinated via weekly multidisciplinary team meetings. This approach ensures that the patient is seen by the right person at the right time and aims to increase patient satisfaction, as well as ensuring national standards of care are delivered.
Butterfly Hospice will provide additional services alongside the expert clinical care, such as chaplaincy, bereavement support and complimentary therapy services.
Volunteers are also being recruited for specific roles which support patients and their families. Head of Volunteering for the charity Davina Hellon said: “The charity already has a diverse volunteer team of over 180 volunteers. The opening of the hospice inpatient unit gives us the opportunity to involve more volunteers in a dedicated care environment. All of our Hospice resources compliment clinical care for patients with their holistic care based on need.”
The homely and welcoming environment of the inpatient unit is the result of many years of visionary hard work by the charity and dedication from numerous people in the wider community who will now have an opportunity to access local inpatient hospice care.
Following staff and volunteer recruitment and training the first patients will be admitted later this summer, with expansion of the current building already planned for future.