People in Northamptonshire who require urgent end of life care can now access specialist support in their own homes from nurses working for a terminal illness charity.
Marie Curie has provided overnight nursing care in the county to people living with a terminal illness, and support for their families, for many years.
But in December the charity took on a new countywide contract for palliative care services when NHS Nene and NHS Corby clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) were seeking a new provider.
As part of this, the CCGs are now working with the charity to ensure people get the care they need to remain at home, if this is where they wish to spend their final days.
Dr Emma Donnelly, a local GP and clinical executive director at Nene and Corby clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), said: “Marie Curie is a renowned and highly respected provider of palliative and end of life care services, and we are very pleased to have them working with us in Northamptonshire.
“Since the launch of the new service in December, we have been working with Marie Curie to enable a seamless transition of care and ensure patients and their families are aware and feel reassured about the new arrangements.
“The experience and specialist skills that its nursing team can call upon will ensure that people in Northamptonshire with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones will have access to compassionate and high-quality care and support.”
Patients, their families and healthcare professionals can access this support through a single point of contact from the Marie Curie Northamptonshire Rapid Response Service.
This focuses on patients who require urgent care and those who may be at risk of being admitted unnecessarily to hospital, which can be distressing for everyone concerned.
The nurses and healthcare assistants in Marie Curie’s rapid response team have special training in palliative and end of life care which ensures they can offer information and advice over the phone, and urgent hands-on care in people’s homes.
The service also includes two specialist nurses, supported by healthcare assistants, working in Northampton General and Kettering General hospitals. The nurses support the discharge of people with a Northamptonshire GP from hospital to their preferred place of care.
Tracy Wotman, care coordination centre team leader at Marie Curie, said: “I lead the team who work in the care coordination centre to provide telephone contact service seven days a week, all year round. We provide a dedicated phone line for patients, families and healthcare professionals, and liaise directly with the nurses who provide urgent care to meet the needs of our patients.
“All of our coordinators are experienced in dealing with families during difficult and sensitive time. It’s rewarding to know that we can really make a difference to patients and their families at the end of their life.”
If you have any questions about terminal illness or simply want someone to talk to, you can call the Marie Curie Support Line on 0800 0902309 or visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/help.