Improving end-of-life care is a strategic priority for commissioners and has been for some years. The mean number of hospital admissions in the last 12 months of life averaged in England is 2.28 occupying 30.05 bed days (Bardsley, Georghiou, Spence, et al., 2019). A Carers UK (2016) survey identified that carer breakdown led to unnecessary, distressing and expensive admissions to hospital of the person being cared for, and suggested that if the carer had greater and higher quality support, it could have a significant impact on the number of emergency admissions.
St Giles Hospice recognised that there was still more needed to enable families and patients to feel supported at home. After speaking to families, patients and community healthcare professionals, the organisation identified a gap in service provision for respite care. Consequently, in March 2021 St Giles launched a new respite service which was funded by the generosity of a local business. The aim of that service was to provide support to patients and carers in the last 12 months of life by providing respite care and education within the home setting. This will be achieved through:
Building resilience and wellbeing within the carer.
Increasing knowledge and skills for informal carers to support them in the provision of care to those they are caring for.
Offering respite care in the home causing minimal disturbance to the patient and provide the carer with a much-needed break.
Supporting patients and carers to maximise the scope for self-care and to combine formal and informal support.
Acting as a flexible, responsive service.
Supporting the wider shift from hospital to primary care by avoiding hospital admissions.
Ensuring staff are trained as ‘train the trainers’ with additional skills in dementia care as it is acknowledged that dementia is not only a primary but a secondary diagnosis and the number of people of dementia is increasing as people live longer.
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