An innovative new centre aimed at improving care at home for people approaching the end of their life in Wandsworth celebrates its first anniversary this month as the professionals using it say it has already made a real difference to patients and their families.

 

The Wandsworth Care Coordination Centre, based at Royal Trinity Hospice and run in partnership with Marie Curie and St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has supported over 400 patients and their families in its first year. According to local professionals like GPs, community nurses and hospital nurses and doctors, the Centre has resulted in an improvement in the quality of care provided to people approaching the end of their life. In a recent survey, 90% rated the service as good or very good, characterised by faster discharges from hospital, patients and families feeling more reassured, and patients feeling more supported to remain at home. Two thirds of professionals also felt it feed up clinical time and made organising care easier for them.

 

Sheila, whose husband Peter died at home with support from the Care Coordination Centre, said, “Peter always told me he wanted to die at home and it is very nice for me to know we could carry out his wishes. The coordination team had a huge impact, they were the backbone of his care. It was a great comfort to know they were at the end of the telephone. The team were warm and gentle, and never let us down.”

 

Cathy Maylin, Head of the Wandsworth Care Coordination Centre, said “We have worked hard over the last year to build relationships with health and social care colleagues to ensure that everyone who could benefit from our help knows where we are. Every patient is different and every day presents a new challenge, but no task is too big or too small to ensure that someone can die with dignity at home, if that is their wish. We’ve got a great team in place and look forward to supporting even more people in the year ahead.”

 

The nurse-led coordination team based at Trinity arranges rapid packages of care and equipment to enable patients be cared for at home and acts as a helpline for patients, families and professionals. There is also a dedicated St George’s End of Life Community Nurse who provides extra support and advice in the community and a team of Marie Curie Health and Personal Care Assistants who can offer specialised hands-on care at home for people with any terminal illness.

 

The Wandsworth Care Coordination Centre is funded by Wandsworth CCG. The service was designed to address confusion among patients and their families about who to contact for help and support, due to the range of organisations involved in caring for someone approaching the end of their life.