Hospice launches new service to care for Redbridge residents at home

PUBLISHED: 09:46 01 November 2016 | UPDATED: 09:47 01 November 2016

The Hospice at Home team from Saint Francis

The Hospice at Home team from Saint Francis

Anita McCarthy

Many people with terminal illnesses are opting to remain at home for their final days and weeks, and the choice is now more possible for those living in Redbridge thanks to a new service.

Saint Francis Hospice, which provides free medical treatment and emotional support to people with life-limiting conditions, has launched its Hospice at Home scheme in the borough, ensuring patients and families can receive all the care they need, but in the comfort of their own homes.

The Havering-atte-Bower charity first set up the service 16 years ago, but only now has it been possible to bring it to Redbridge, to complement existing schemes.

Amie Blumson, hospice at home team leader, said: “This is wonderful news for residents as they now have access to more support in those critical last weeks of a person’s life.

“Years ago people would have thought they could only die at hospital or in a hospice, but now they can choose to be in their preferred place.”

Staff work alongside district nurses, clinical nurse specialists and GPs, with care delivered by nurses and healthcare assistants in time blocks of two to four hours, although this can be extended depending on a person’s needs.

Staff make every effort to get to know patients and their families, so they can ensure all their needs are being met.

“We know we are a guest in someone’s home and we are always respectful of that,” said Amie.

“We do not assume that everyone is the same at the end of their life and we really take time to get to know a family, which means learning about their religion, culture

and traditions.

“This is important because it gives us a sense of the person we are looking after and so we are able to provide holistic care.”

A diagnosis of terminal illness places a lot of pressure on families as they try to support their loved one.

“We are able to spend quality time with people and do things other services may not have time for such as giving a patient a bath,” said Amie.

“Families often feel helpless when their loved ones are in pain and they feel guilty about not being able to cope, but we are there to relieve some of the pressure on them.

“As we are end of life care specialists, we are able to let families have a break to catch up on sleep or even shopping while safe in the knowledge that their loved one is being cared for.”

The service, which is delivered in partnership with the North East London NHS Foundation Trust (Nelft), has been funded by the Redbridge Clinical Commissioning Group, until March 2019.

Access to the service is via referrals from healthcare professionals such as GPs, doctors and nurses.

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