The challenge is for the hospice to set up a community service, across a number of different counties, to deliver regular respite as well as palliative and end of life care for children and their families.
The only way that this can be achieved is to work in partnership, both formally and informally, with other organisations. In order to introduce a new community service in Wiltshire, a formal partnership has been agreed between the hospice and another community hospice provider.
To ensure collaboration with existing service providers in the area, a ‘Wiltshire Partnership group’ has been formed, which includes representatives from the hospice and three other charitable organisations (2 of which are community hospice services) as well as one statutory service. Each service currently delivers slightly different support to children with life limiting and life threatening conditions. The benefits of working together are many, including; seamless delivery of care for children and families, improved communication between services, shared referrals across organisations, improved choice of care, reduce parental anxiety and increased access to support, as well as improved access to end of life care at home with all organisations contributing to a shared rota to cover 24/7. A model highlighted in a recent report titled; NHS at Home: Community Children’s Nursing Services (DOH, 2011).
Other benefits include raising the profile of the hospice world among statutory organisations and encouraging health and social care professionals to think differently about how children’s hospice services might be accessed to better meet the needs of children and their families.
This is a two year pilot project. Success will be measured in terms of number of new referrals to the service as well as capturing those families that we have been able to ‘re engage’ with the hospice via the new community service; those that are referred and accepted to the hospice, but have been too frightened to access. Feedback will also be obtained from children, young people and parents every six months.
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