Last autumn the two organisations began working together to improve the journeys to and from the hospice. And the relationship has proved to be hugely beneficial.
“It is about providing a seamless and high quality experience door to door,” says Clinical Director Marie Bradley. “It is reducing waiting times and about a guaranteed quality standard ‘Taylormade’ for the people who choose us for help, so the services fits with them and their family needs.”
What this means in daily practice is that two emergency transport attendants from St John Ambulance are now based at the hospice. There, they are on call during the day Monday to Friday for whatever is needed.
“St John Ambulance provides fully equipped ambulances with highly trained staff who are able to carry out all kinds of tasks, taking people to hospital and outpatient clinics in comfort and being there for the journey back home,” says Marie.
“It also provides assurance of trained staff that get to know you and, when coming out to the hospice, you can move with safety from your bedroom to your front door and you don’t automatically need to lose access to the upstairs of your house.
“The St John Ambulance team are qualified emergency transport attendants, which means they are skilled in moving people who are experiencing pain, picking people up when they are discharged from hospital and providing transport for Pari Passu, our specialist pain clinic at the hospice.”
The St John Ambulance and John Taylor team has five emergency transport attendants who work at the hospice on a rota basis.
“When Samantha Fawcett, district ambulance services manager at St John Ambulance, told staff they were going to be providing this service here at John Taylor Hospice she received applications from 27 emergency transport attendants,” adds Marie. “That is how keen they are to be part of it. There is a real commitment from them.”
Little things matter
The St John Ambulance team have really embraced John Taylor’s approach to making every moment matter and have designed their own contribution – One Wish.
“We suggested to the hospice that we could offer up some time to help people achieve One Wish,” says St John Ambulance Emergency Transport Attendant Stephanie Longmore.“ So when we bring someone into the hospice they are asked if they have One Wish they would really like to fulfil.
“Then, as long as it is appropriate and we can agree times that work with the clinical service the hospice has from us, we try to fulfil that wish. It could be something like taking someone to the park and just being with them there for a bit or safe transport to go to a favourite place to eat. Recently we took a man who had moved into the hospice back home for a bit of time because he wanted to see his dog. It is things like that.”
The idea came from discussions with people who the St John Ambulance team were transporting.
“We were having a takeaway fried chicken one day and one of the patients at the hospice said he would really fancy that – and that was what made us think of it,” says Stephanie. “It is offering people the chance to do something which matters to them.”
Part of the hospice team
Stephanie says all the team enjoy working at John Taylor Hospice.
“It is really rewarding having the hands-on experience with people at the end of life and a privilege to be able to get to know each person,” she says. “Our contract with John Taylor Hospice means we don’t just transport people without needing to thinking about what has happened to them. We are able to pop in and say hello to people who we get to know quite well as we are bringing them here more regularly.
“We also like being part of the hospice team and getting to know the staff here too. We help out wherever we can, doing things like helping with the tea round.”
The St John Ambulance team has also offered to provide basic first aid training and first aid support at hospice events.
Hospice Modern Matron Gale Clarke says the St John Ambulance team have made a big difference in helping the hospice make every moment matter every day.
“We regularly ask people for feedback on how we are doing and I’m constantly moved when people remark upon the kindness and professionalism of our staff,” she says. “Since the relationship with St John Ambulance commenced late last year, patients and families have valued this service so much they tell me about their experience of the St John Ambulance staff as well, using words such as ‘courteous, polite, gentle and wonderful’.
“The partnership with St John Ambulance and John Taylor Hospice was inspired and has proven to be an unrivalled, exceptional combination of professionalism. Patients tell me they feel safe and unrushed during transfer to and from the ambulance and completely comfortable and secure not just door-to-door but often more crucially from a bedroom at home, to one of our beds in the hospice.
“I’m so proud of this partnership that even in the first few months has proven to be patient-focussed and incredibly worthwhile.”
Hallmark for best practice
Dave Human, Regional Ambulance Services Manager says: “St John Ambulance values the new relationship with John Taylor Hospice. Our shared values of patient centred care are founded on clinical excellence and compassion which allow us to achieve a first class service that truly makes a difference to patients.
“I have every confidence that the partnership will grow from strength to strength and become the hallmark for best practice in dedicated ambulance services to the hospice movement.”