St Richard’s Hospice is working in partnership with the NHS in Worcestershire to offer patients with advanced conditions the opportunity to attend specialist out-patient appointments at the hospice.
Each Monday, a palliative care out-patient clinic is held at the hospice for patients with Parkinson’s Disease, advanced respiratory, cardiac and renal conditions. The specialist clinics aim to improve quality of life for patients by proactively managing their illness, and help them and their families to plan ahead for end of life care.
Patients and their carers are invited to spend time at the hospice where they can receive holistic care from the hospice’s multi-disciplinary team. In addition to an appointment with specialist NHS consultants and clinical nurse specialists for their condition, patients can also discuss their future care with specialist palliative care consultants. The consultations open conversations about prognosis and enable patients and their loved ones to make plans for the future.
In the calm and supportive environment of the hospice, patients and carers can enjoy a sociable lunch, see Complementary Therapists, the Family Support team, or discuss the challenges they face with other patients and carers in similar situations.
Initially, a trial clinic was established for renal failure patients who were not suitable for dialysis due to their additional medical conditions. It was found that some of these patients had stopped attending hospital renal clinics and therefore were not receiving the proactive specialist treatment needed to maximise their quality of life. In addition, they had not had the opportunity to plan their end of life care and discuss where they wanted to be cared for when they reached the dying phase. Often these patients died in hospital, which may not have been their choice.
Following the success of the hospice-based renal clinics, additional sessions for patients with Parkinson’s Disease, respiratory and heart conditions were introduced last year. Clinic numbers continue to grow, with up to ten patients attending each week, and the clinics are receiving excellent feedback from both patients and carers.
For example, one patient said; “When you reach ‘end of life’ the care you receive is far more important than being admitted to hospital for no purpose or benefit. St Richard’s Hospice offers the support that patients and their loved ones need.”
Another patient added; “The hospice gave us the time and care that we needed.”
A relative of a patient attending the renal clinic said; “It was a great relief to myself as a relative that all aspects of support and care were available at one place.”