Hospice at Home
The Hospice at Home service is the most recently developed independent clinical service provided by the hospice and has been a huge success since its inception in 2001. The team consists of 20 staff, largely comprising of Healthcare Support Workers closely supervised & led by a small team of Registered Palliative Care Nurse Specialists who undertake the patient assessments.
Hospice at Home delivers a service as close as possible to that provided by the hospice Inpatient Unit but in the context of the patients own home. This service is restricted principally to terminal care in the last week of life. A small amount of respite care is provided to patients with advanced disease where carer support is urgently needed. Care is provided for up to 24 hours a day for a maximum period of 7 days. The Palliative Care Nurse Specialist team also provide ongoing support with symptom control and patient management at home.
Last year the Hospice at Home service delivered nearly 2,500 shifts of care and helped over 200 patients whose stated preference was to die in familiar surroundings at home. There is clear evidence in the National End of Life Care Strategy (Department of Health 2009) that increasing numbers of patients are expressing the wish to die at home.
We have recently introduced a volunteer respite sitting service which will supplement the current respite service and prove a valuable additional resource to our care provision, by affording an anticipated extra 400 respite shifts.
The expansion of the hospice at home service is proposed for 2011/12, subject to additional resources being available, when it is planned that the new community intermediate care unit will become operational.