Since November 2014, St Luke’s crisis team has helped to get people home who don’t need to be in hospital and supported hundreds of families to respect their loved ones wishes to die at home.
The team provides terminally ill patients a 72-hour window of specialist care at home to stabilise symptoms and avoid any unnecessary admission to hospital, as well as facilitating rapid discharge from hospital or hospice back home.
From Monday St Luke’s will be extending the work of the crisis team to support people in East Cornwall, as part of a pilot project.
The hospice hopes that the pilot will help demonstrate to commissioners how such services can help reduce bed blocking – cutting hospital costs – and help accommodate an ageing population.
The team will work in close partnership with other community health and social care providers in East Cornwall to enhance end of life care services and offer solutions to crisis situations where a patient does not have care arrangements in place. For example, if they need to quickly return home from hospital and their family needs help to look after them.
George Lillie, clinical director of St Luke’s Hospice, explains: “This is an important pilot project that we envisage will lead to a closer working relationship with Cornwall Hospice Care and other community providers that will see investment and development of services in end of life care within Cornwall.
“GPs, district nurses and other healthcare staff can now easily refer their patients to our team and we look forward to providing crucial care to families in times of crisis.”
Dawn Tame-Battell, director of patient services for Cornwall Hospice Care, adds: “We welcome this development and will work closely with St Luke’s.
“We’re monitoring the pilot project with interest and hope that we could discuss our involvement in the development of similar services across the whole county in the future.
“All our hospice services continue to operate in Cornwall and patients can still choose to be cared for by us if they wish.”