The Live Well Information and Support Service (LWISS) provides personalised information and support – within the hospice, online and out in the community – to those who need it.
The Speaker of Hackney, Councillor Sade Etti, Meg Hillier, MP for South Hackney and Shoreditch, and Newham Councillor Bryan Collier MBE were among 50 guests who attended the official launch of LWISS at the East London hospice on Monday – the first day of Hospice Care Week.
The new service provides three strands of information and support, including a drop-in centre at the hospice, outreach support in the London boroughs of Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets and online support via the team’s new information and support website Care Compass.
Rachael Yearwood, Live Well Information and Support team manager, said: “The LWISS is a perfect example of Connecting Care, which is this year’s theme for Hospice Care Week, and the reason why we wanted to launch our service during this high-profile event.
“Our drop-in centre not only allows us to connect with hospice patients and their loved ones but also with members of the public who have heard about our service and regularly drop in to receive support on a number of topics such as diet and exercise, will writing, welfare and benefits and other local services that are available to them.
“Our outreach activities have allowed us to connect with our local communities and build important relationships with other organisations so that we can signpost our service users more effectively. The Care Compass website will also allow us to start connecting people with each other too.
“I am so proud of what the team has achieved since March and we are excited to build on this success over the next six months, especially with the introduction of Care Compass.”
The drop-in centre, which is open Monday to Friday from 10am until 4pm offering one-to-one information and support, has been running for more than four years but in February, thanks to funding from Macmillan Cancer Support and the Big Lottery Fund, the Live Well Information and Support Service was officially established, allowing for outreach and online services to be introduced.
Since March, the team’s three outreach co-ordinators have delivered 16 free self-management and awareness workshops across the three London boroughs on topics including healthy eating, grief and loss and dementia awareness.
Additionally, the team has developed and implemented three support groups including a bereavement support group in Tower Hamlets, a support group in Newham for family and friends of people with dementia and a men’s cancer support group in Hackney – and there are plans to introduce three new groups in early 2016.
The LWISS’s online project, Care Compass, is an information and support website for anyone affected by a life-limiting illness including patients, their family, friends and carers, healthcare professionals and volunteers.
The website, at present focussed on the East London area, consists of four key services including a service directory containing more than 350 local, regional and national services. It also features a range of support, social and wellbeing events; forums for people with life-limiting conditions, their loved ones and healthcare professionals; and a range of real-life case studies covering illnesses ranging from cancer to dementia to the lung condition COPD.
The team’s aim is for Care Compass not just to be an information website but an interactive space where members themselves can share information, swap advice and help it to grow.
Jean Eveleigh, a St Joseph’s Hospice user who helped to shape Care Compass, said: “In the past I have spent hours trawling through dozens of websites looking for good quality, relevant, up-to-date information. It struck me as absurd that nowhere had thought to develop a site that brought all of these needs together under one website. This is what Care Compass aims to be – a one-stop-shop to help you live with the health condition affecting your family.”
If you would like the LWISS to talk to your organisation about Care Compass, or deliver a self-management and awareness workshop, then please contact Rachael Yearwood on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8525 3140.