The Department of Health’s End of Life Care Strategy, published in 2008, emphasised the need to raise the quality of care provided to dying people and their loved ones in a variety of settings – including care homes.
The strategy called for more coordinated services, which could see NHS and statutory social care authorities providing increasing support to care home staff and managers and their residents.
To address this need, Princess Alice Hospice and Milverton Nursing Home have formed a working partnership which will see our staff working together in a six-month project which we are calling Together2Care.
Together2Care, which launches in September, will see Milverton Nursing Home provide the hospice with access to, and support for, two beds within the home and in return the hospice will provide nursing home staff with a comprehensive training package in end of life care.
The Together2Care collaboration will increase the options for patients and families. It will enable patients who need 24 hour nursing care and specialist palliative care intervention (and who may otherwise have been admitted into hospital), to be cared for and die in a care setting other than the local hospital.
The Princess Alice enhanced support service – the hospice at home multi-professional team adept at responding to patients in the community with urgent needs – will provide practical care to help ensure patients at Milverton have a positive experience and a high quality of care. They will co-ordinate their efforts closely with the Princess Alice Nurse (a designated clinical nurse specialist already known to the nursing home), while ensuring the primary responsibility for the patient remains their GP.
Milverton staff will undertake the QCF Level 3 Award in Awareness of End of Life Care as part of the educational programme.
During their training, it is envisaged that nursing home staff will shadow hospice ward staff for two to three days a week, for a period of six months. There will be additional interactive training throughout their time with the hospice.
Milverton Nursing Home has invested in training for staff caring for patients with dementia and it is hoped that the hospice will be able to learn from approaches to care now adopted by their staff.
The Together2Care partnership will:
- Mean that more complex patients than usual can be managed at Milverton Nursing Home.
- Ensure that more patients will be able to be cared for and die in a setting other than their local hospital.
- Support the hospice’s strategic aim to widen our partnership base; to educate and upskill other providers and to ensure that our patients have access to the ‘right skill’ at the ‘right time’ in the ‘right place’.
- Enable both organisations to improve cross boundary working, gain insight into each other’s care setting and develop and support learning across our shared care areas.
We will be evaluating the project and hope this process will develop and improve the service we are all able to offer patients at the end of their life.
Together2Care has been developed in response to a specific local need, however, it has already prompted expressions of interest from healthcare organisations and clinical commissioning groups and, going forward, we are happy to work with other interested parties to develop and upscale the model.
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