Hospice @Home, one year on

East Cheshire Hospice has been reflecting on a highly successful first year of its Hospice @ Home service.

The charity works closely with other health care agencies to provide an 'out of hours' palliative care support service.

The anniversary was marked with a visit from Macclesfield MP David Rutley to the Hospice last Friday (Oct 19).

Clinical Director Sarah Dale said: "We've been delighted with our progress in the first 12 months and have filled a gap in the system and found our niche.

"Vital to that success has been our close collaboration with other community end-of-life health care providers, such as GPs, district nurses and teams from Macmillan and Marie Curie.

"We've complemented those existing services and that integrated service has supported the individual needs, choices and preferences of palliative care patients.

"The system has worked brilliantly and I want to thank the other health care agencies for their kind co-operation and support.

"A patient might have called 999 before if they couldn't get hold of a GP or a district nurse but now they've got us to call as well.

"That extra help has been a massive support to people, especially if they get frightened or panic during the night.

"We're now at the end of a phone and one of the aims of Hospice @ Home is to prevent those unwanted hospital visits.

"Historically hospices might have supported mainly cancer patients requiring symptom management and assessment. 

"Today it's completely different and we provide end-of-life care for patients with lots of different conditions.

"Hospice @ Home also looks after people who might be frail and dying of old age and we try to keep them in their own home, supporting them in their last six to eight weeks of life or in a crisis."

Statistics from October 2017 to the end of September 2018 show the Hospice @ Home team -

* Received 341 referrals.

* Made 1,606 home visits and 2,300 supportive telephone calls.

*  Its support helped 226 people to die in their preferred place.

The service provides hands-on medical care, psychological support, symptom management, end-of-life care and care after death.  

The service is available from 6.30 pm to 8 am weekdays and at the weekend with a response time of one hour for urgent needs. Patients need to have been referred by a health care professional. 

Hospice @Home has responded to an increasing number of referrals for patients with dementia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other non-cancer illnesses.

It is operated by a number of contracted and bank nurses and healthcare assistants providing a flexible service depending on need.

The Hospice hopes to extend its support to relatives and loved ones through its bereavement services.