Over the last few weeks we have been talking about Wirral Hospice St John’s reaching out into the community, and the phrase ‘Hospice without walls’ has been used. In essence, this is giving patients who are not actually staying in the Hospice access to the services and benefits it can offer. It allows them to remain in their own homes during what can be a very difficult phase of their lives.
Palliative care consultant Dr Fawad Ahmad is a crucial member of the team that is turning the phrase into reality. Within the Hospice he takes responsibility for eight of the beds in the 16-bed Inpatient Unit. In addition, he and his consultant colleague, Dr Helen Emms, spend much of their time out in the community.
“We go to the homes of patients who cannot attend Outpatient Clinics for one reason or another. We get requests from their GP, the district nurse or the Community Palliative Care team, and we carry out assessments with a holistic view, looking at patients’ physical, psychological and spiritual needs, as well as their social conditions.
Together with whoever made the referral, the patient themselves and their families and carers we aim to devise a needs-based plan resulting in the best possible care for the patient.”
Although we’re talking here about being out in the community, Fawad believes that the new building at Wirral Hospice will play an important role in making the Hospice without walls the very best it possibly can be.
“Up until now we have had to make the best of what we had, which was very limited in space and cramped conditions, which sometimes made it awkward when sensitive or difficult conversations were necessary. With the new areas, particularly on the first and second floors, I believe those problems will be solved.
In addition, because we can offer space to health and social professionals from the community, who are currently based at other buildings, it will be easier to foster better working relations between all professionals who need to work together. It will act as a central hub for information for GPs and district nurses and other professionals, as well as a focus for patients, their families and carers.
The improvement in equipment and particularly IT at the Hospice means that everything should be easier. The community team will now be able to access the same IT system that is used in the Hospice. This will obviously improve the sharing of details, and consequently improve the continuity and quality of care as everyone concerned has the ability to access the latest information concerning a patient and their care.
Our Hospice is thought of so highly out there and we have come so far largely thanks to the ongoing support of the local community. Thank you for your donations of money and time; your support ensures that we can keep providing the highest levels of care and support for our patients and their families, and to those who might need our services in the future.”