All this week, Wirral Hospice is promoting dignity in care. This is in support of Dignity Action Day, a campaign organised by the National Dignity Council that aims to ensure people who use care services are treated as individuals and given choice, control and a sense of purpose in their daily lives.
The promotion of dignity in care will apply to all aspects of the Hospice’s work: outpatient clinics, therapy, the inpatient ward and the Hospice at Home service.
Every month, the Hospice can see and support more than two hundred patients through its outpatients clinics and day therapy unit, which are staffed by a caring and experienced team. As well as meeting with medical experts, patients and their families and carers can access a wide range of support and activities, information and services to help them to continue leading an active and independent life in the community for as long as possible. Every effort is made to work with individuals to reflect their personal needs and wishes.
Day therapy gives people the opportunity to deal with pain and symptom control issues; it also helps people address fears, anxieties and worries they may have about what they and their family are facing. It provides time to meet and share experiences with other people who are coping with similar challenges in a warm, welcoming and supportive environment.
There are various techniques on offer that can increase a patient’s sense of well-being and help maintain their independence, and a broad range of activities that aims to support a patient’s essential areas of daily living, such as self care, managing health and symptoms, planning for the future and developing new skills and interests.
The Hospice recognises that partners, family members, carers and loved ones may also need assistance. They too can access services to enable them to have a rest, get advice or have practical and emotional support on a one-to-one basis or in a group session that enables people to provide mutual support and understanding. Fostering a real sense of community.
Elaine Pugh, Outpatient Services Manager says, “It’s so important that we value partnerships we have with patients and families. Their views, skills and life experiences are crucial when providing care that is centred on a patient and their family’s needs. Each person and their family are important to us, as they bring their own individual hopes and wishes. Some people are very scared when they are first referred to attend outpatient clinics or day therapy at the Hospice. There is an assumption that it can mean their illness is critical and there is little more that can be done; we believe that this is not the case. There is much to be done and we want to reach out to people to enhance their quality of life with compassionate care, treating people with dignity and respect.
The Hospice’s inpatient ward can support up to 16 patients at a time; these patients’ medical needs are unique to each person and their length of stay very much depends on what their medical requirements and personal wishes are.
Viki Whaley, Clinical Manager says: “Many of our patients would like to be at home surrounded by their personal effects and where things are familiar to them. In discussion with patients and their families, the Hospice does everything it can to manage an individual’s medical needs whilst they are on our ward and to provide occupational and other support so that they can be transferred to their own homes if it’s possible to do so.
For some patients though it isn’t always an option, especially if their medical needs are critical or there isn’t time to arrange any additional support they may need at home, so the Hospice tries to create as peaceful, caring and homely an environment as possible for the patients who are with us until they die. We keep patients and family members involved and included in all decisions that are made so that we are respecting their wishes and treating them with the utmost dignity in how we care for them.”
The Hospice’s work with patients and their families is a key focus for 2014 and beyond. The building work that is currently underway on site is on schedule to be completed by June 2014. The additional space it will create at the Hospice is to ‘join-up’ all the health professionals and teams involved in an individual patient‘s care – whether they are an outpatient and day therapy visitor, a patient on the ward or someone receiving care through the Hospice at Home service. This includes consultants, doctors, nurses, a pharmacist, a social worker, a psychologist, a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, a bereavement team and counsellors, a creative therapist and a chaplain. It will be a central hub that will ensure all aspects of a patient’s care and their families’ support are effectively managed in one place.
Maria Lyons, Quality & Improvement Manager says: “It’s crucial that we are patient and family-centred in everything we do. Our patients are in a very vulnerable position; they often have long-term or incurable conditions, so they need our care, compassion and commitment in enabling them to continue to live their lives to the fullest. We work closely with family members and carers whilst a patient is receiving care from us and after a patient dies. Our bereavement team can be involved in supporting a family for many years after losing a loved one. The extended building will enable the Hospice to work even more closely with families, loved ones and carers whilst a patient is receiving care from us and after a patient dies.”
The Hospice was awarded a Dept of Health grant of more than £500,000 to pay for the majority of the building work that is currently taking place. In the coming weeks it will start to seek support from the Wirral community and local businesses for its Families Matter Appeal to raise an additional £250,000 on top of the Hospice’s usual running costs, which are more than £3million a year. This will ensure that its vision for the building comes to fruition – in bringing all the right elements together: medical, clinical and support staffing, IT resources, medical equipment and the range of care services provided to make the Hospice fit for both the near and longer-term future.
Visit www.wirralhospice.org to find out more about the Hospice’s work and plans.
Visit http://www.dignityincare.org.uk/Dignity_Action_Day/ to find out more about dignity in care.
Author: Teresa Nightingale