New service to offer end of life care

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A new service has been launched to give people across Northumberland a choice about their end of life care.

Leading charity Marie Curie has teamed up with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to launch an innovative new partnership delivering high quality palliative and end of life care and support.

It is a first in the sense that it is a truly integrated and jointly managed, jointly funded and jointly badged service bringing the NHS and the voluntary sector together.

Dr Paul Paes, head of service for Palliative Care at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

The Marie Curie @ Northumbria service brings together innovation from both the voluntary sector and NHS to develop tailored services which ensure people have responsive and personalised care and support for themselves and their families.

The aim of the partnership is to increase the number of people being cared for in their place of choice and to ensure that individuals and their families are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

“It also aims to improve the way care is provided and co-ordinated between different hospitals and community-based professionals and services which support them.

Dr Paul Paes, head of service for Palliative Care at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We believe this is a unique partnership, and the first of its kind in the country.

“It is a first in the sense that it is a truly integrated and jointly managed, jointly funded and jointly badged service bringing the NHS and the voluntary sector together.”

The first phase of the service has seen the recruitment of the first modern matron for palliative care in the Trust as well as the appointment of a team of nurses to expand the hospital liaison service across North Tyneside General and Wansbeck General Hospitals and the new Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington when it opens in June.

Their role is to support individuals with palliative care needs who are being treated in wards across the hospitals. A unique feature of the service will be for the team to follow patients home in the first 24 hours of discharge to ensure a smooth transfer of care to community teams.

Phase two will see the development of a new community team, incorporating a rapid response service, which will aim to reduce the number of unnecessary hospital admissions for people which can be traumatic for them and their families, and support them to be treated in the community and at home and is due to be launched in the second half of 2015.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s palliative care service currently covers a population of 500,000 people with approximately 5,000 people who may have palliative care needs each year.

There are on average over 360 new referrals coming into the team each month, from a number of professionals including district nurses, GPs, hospital and other palliative care colleagues.

The service is jointly funded by Marie Curie and Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust.