More patients with life-shortening conditions will be supported to stay at home and achieve their wishes at the end of life, thanks to the expansion of a team of specialist hospice nurses who visit people where they live across Central Lancashire.
On-going funding has been made available by NHS England through Chorley and South Ribble Clinical Commissioning Group and Greater Preston Clinical Commissioning Group to enhance St Catherine’s Hospice’s team of Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS).
The boost, which is the result of a new collaboration between health and social care commissioners and St Catherine’s, has enabled the hospice to employ a further five palliative care CNS, increasing the team which visits people where they live across Chorley, Preston and South Ribble, providing expertise in symptom management and specialist psychological support.
The increase in capacity in the team will mean St Catherine’s can reach more people with life-shortening conditions like cancer, heart failure and motor neurone disease sooner – helping to avoid unnecessary admissions to hospital, and achieve patients’ wishes to remain at home, in familiar surroundings with their loved ones.
The funding will also allow the charity to recruit administration support and a new position of Compassionate Communities Project Lead – an emerging initiative designed to inspire and empower local people to support each other through serious illness and bereavement.
Lynn Kelly, Chief Executive of St Catherine’s Hospice, said: “We are delighted to be sharing the news of this increased capacity in our extremely well-regarded Clinical Nurse Specialist community team.
“Demand for our CNS service has always been high, but never more so than over the past couple of years during the pandemic – and never has it been so important.
“As a hospice St Catherine’s is here to help everyone in our community have quality of life, to the end of life. Over the next five years we are working towards four main goals of increasing and improving our co-ordination, integration, accessibility and responsiveness; and this exciting collaboration will be a key driver in our success.
“We are grateful to NHS England, the local CCGs and all our partners for their backing and support of this important new initiative, which will help to ensure more patients and their loved ones get access to quality palliative care in the right place and at the right time.”
Jayne Mellor, Director of Transformation and Delivery at the CCGs, said: “First and foremost, this is great news for those patients and families who most need this support.
“Enhancing this specialist care in the community was a key priority for us as we know what a difference remaining at home can make to individuals and their loved ones. I’m delighted we have been able to work collaboratively with our partners in Central Lancashire to secure the additional funding needed and bring this to fruition.”
St Catherine’s has recruited to two types of CNS. Joining the team will be three CNS ‘Development posts’ offering a unique opportunity to develop under the mentorship and guidance of the current CNS team. Following 18 months’ training, they will then move onto managing their own caseload of patients.
St Catherine’s has also recruited two CNS who are ready to quickly take on and manage their own caseload of patients.
Melanie Holmes, Community Services Manager at St Catherine’s Hospice who heads up the CNS team, said: “We are so pleased to be welcoming these new nursing professionals to our caring, compassionate and committed team. We are looking forward to reaching more people across Central Lancashire who could benefit from our care and support at one of the most important times in their lives.”
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