Currently, if a patient who is being cared for in their own home needs to spend time in the Compassus Centre, the inpatient facility at St Giles, either to manage symptoms or during their final days, it is often a different team of nurses who care for them.
Now, thanks to the late former Mayor and long-time hospice supporter John Wilks, St Giles is testing a new way of delivering care, which enables community nurses to also spend time at the Compassus Centre, providing patients and their families with a familiar face at a difficult time.
John Wilks died in 2014 and his generous legacy is being spent on funding two nurses, Katherine Hill and Charlotte Keast, to trial this new way of providing care.
“The biggest benefit for our patients will be the integrated care which focuses on their individual needs,” explains Charlotte.
“Because we get to know them while they are at home we have a good understanding of their personal requirements, so it’s much easier for them and their families when they come into the Compassus Centre.
“From a professional perspective we are also able to take the skills we learn on the ward and implement them in the community – and vice versa – as well as bridging the gap between the two departments.”
Katherine added: “End of life care is something that’s really personal to each individual patient and their loved ones, and it’s a difficult experience for everybody concerned.
“At St Giles we provide the highest quality care whether we’re working out in the community or in one of our hospice centres, but it can still be frightening for people to make that transition from home to inpatient care, even if it is only for a short period of time to stabilise symptoms with a plan to return home.
“If they have a familiar face who has been with them throughout their illness, that can make the transition a lot easier and provides a seamless experience with the same person.”
The two John Wilks specialist nurses have been funded for a year; if this pilot scheme proves successful, there is potential for it to influence the way St Giles develops its caring services in the future.