People in Northamptonshire who require urgent end of life care can now access specialist support in their own homes from nurses working for UK's leading terminal illness charity.
Marie Curie has provided overnight nursing care in the county to people living with a terminal illness, and their families, for many years. But in December, the charity took on a new countywide contract for palliative care services when NHS Nene and NHS Corby clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) were seeking a new provider.
As part of this, the CCGs are now working with the charity to ensure people get the care they need to remain at home, if this is where they wish to spend their final days.
Patients, their families and healthcare professionals can access this support through a single point of contact from the Marie Curie Northamptonshire Rapid Response Service. This focuses on patients who require urgent care and those who may be at risk of being admitted unnecessarily to hospital, which can be distressing for everyone concerned.
The nurses and healthcare assistants in Marie Curie's rapid response team have special training in palliative and end of life care which ensures they can offer information and advice over the phone, and urgent hands-on care in people's homes.
The service also includes two specialist nurses, supported by healthcare assistants, working in Northampton General and Kettering General hospitals. The nurses support the discharge of people with a Northamptonshire GP from hospital to their preferred place of care.
Dr Emma Donnelly, a local GP and Clinical Executive Director at Nene and Corby clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), said:
“Marie Curie is a renowned and highly respected provider of palliative and end of life care services, and we are very pleased to have them working with us in Northamptonshire.
“Since the launch of the new service in December we have been working with Marie Curie to enable a seamless transition of care, and ensure patients and their families are aware and feel reassured about the new arrangements.
“The experience and specialist skills that its nursing team can call upon will ensure that people in Northamptonshire with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones will have access to compassionate and high quality care and support.”
Rebecca Warren, Nursing Manager for the Marie Curie service, said:
“People who choose to be cared for in their own homes at the end of their life sometimes need urgent support. It could be that a person needs treatment to make them more comfortable, or that a family member needs help to support the person they are caring for at home. Our service works with hospital and community services to ensure people are well supported where they live.
“The Marie Curie discharge nurses at Kettering and Northampton general hospitals organise hospital discharge for people who choose to be cared for in their own home or a care home. They ensure that both the person who is nearing the end of their life and their family have the support they require to remain in their preferred place of care following discharge from hospital.
“The nurses working in the Marie Curie community rapid response team provide urgent support, which enables people to remain comfortable in their own home without having to be admitted to hospital.
“I'm proud to be leading an experienced team of nurses and healthcare assistants. We are dedicated to making sure that local people requiring urgent attention can access support and care, where they want it and when they need it.
“The nurses working in the hospital and the community feel very honoured to support the people they care for. Every day is different, each person we provide support for is unique with individual needs. Being able to respond very quickly and provide individualised care that enables people to remain comfortably in their own homes is extremely rewarding.”
Tracy Wotman, Care Coordination Centre Team Leader at Marie Curie, said:
“I lead the team who work in the care coordination centre to provide telephone contact service seven days a week, all year round. We provide a dedicated phoneline for patients, families and healthcare professionals, and liaise directly with the nurses who provide urgent care to meet the needs of our patients.
“All of our coordinators are experienced in dealing with families during difficult and sensitive time. It's rewarding to know that we can really make a difference to patients and their families at the end of their life.”
Jo Stradling, Divisional General Manager for Marie Curie, said:
“Marie Curie has supported people living with a terminal illness and their families in Northamptonshire for many years. This new service provides us with the opportunity to deliver more flexible and responsive support to enable people with the most need get access to the right care, at the right time, and in the right place for them.
“We are committed to working with the local NHS commissioning groups and other organisations to deliver the highest quality of end of life care locally.”
The picture shows Rebecca Warren (centre) with healthcare assistant June Nicholl (left) and nurse Seeta Maher who enable people who require urgent end of life care to choose where they spend their final weeks.
If you have any questions about terminal illness or simply want someone to talk to, you can call the Marie Curie Support Line on 0800 0902309 or visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/help.