The Hospice Night Support Service was designed to complement and support our Hospice at Home service and increase palliative care to patients in their preferred place of death. Unlike Hospice at Home, not all patients required a nurse to be in their home all night. It therefore increased capacity in this service while at the same time providing shorter term care to more patients.
It was decided that a responsive overnight visiting service could prevent hospital admission and speed up discharge of patients out of hospital to their homes. District nursing capacity challenges them to provide urgent care only overnight rather than personal and emotional care. This new service was designed to provide care interventions such as mouth care, continence care, and emotional support and advice to patients and carers when they need it most.
Patients and carers can either pre-book or phone for a visit at the time they need care. Implementation included increasing skills of the workforce, liaising with key referrers and securing funding.
Throughout the first complete month the service made 200 visits, half of these provided emotional support. The team have been called by patients who previously frequently called 999 when they were anxious or distressed, hence now freeing up a much more costly service.
45 of the visits were to provide continence care to patients, one relative said ‘my father would have suffered through the night as I struggle to clean him myself’.
The current Hospice at Home service is a limited resource providing care to people in the last days of life. Carers are satisfied with a short visit from the Hospice Night Support Team when a whole Hospice at Home shift is unavailable. This is an excellent way of supporting family and patients in their preferred place of care while efficiently using resources.
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