Improvements to care service

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CARERS in West Norfolk are now benefiting from a further extension to a service which provides high-quality end-of-life care to patients and their carers.

The improved nursing service is now being delivered by even more healthcare staff than before, more than trebling the care hours available to patients and carers each month.

Commissioned by NHS Norfolk, the service is already being delivered in partnership between Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C) and Marie Curie Cancer Care.

The newly enhanced provision builds on the existing countywide service and particularly enhances the service in the west of the county.

Under the new service, as before, NCH&C’s qualified nurses will continue to assess patient’s individual needs and devise a suitable care plan for them to ensure patients receive the care that is right for them, such as medication or therapeutic support. This care is then delivered to patients in the location that they choose - such as in their own home or in a care home, rather than having to be admitted to hospital.

The service will be further enhanced, with NCH&C’s nurses working in partnership with Health Care Assistants from Marie Curie. In addition to the service provided by NCH&C, the team from Marie Curie will provide a night-nursing service to patients and their families to help monitor patients’ pain-levels, ensure they are comfortable during the night, and give patients’ families some rest and a chance to catch up on some sleep themselves.

The improvements to the service in the west of the county mean it will now be similar to the service offered in central Norfolk, where nurses from NCH&C’s and staff from Marie Curie already work together to provide care and support for patients.

The enhancement of the service means around 1,530 hours of care will be provided to patients and their carers in Norfolk each month - more than treble the number of hours provided previously, when the service delivered around 420 hours.

The extension of the service has been developed in response to recommendations made in Marie Curie’s Delivering Choice Programme which highlighted a need for increased respite support for carers of patients with end-of-life needs in West Norfolk.

It also adheres to the Norfolk Carers Strategy, which was launched jointly by Norfolk County Council and NHS Norfolk in December 2010. The strategy was developed by carers, for carers, to represent them in future health and social care provision.

Speaking about the improved service, Cal Deane, Commissioning Manager North for NHS Norfolk, said: “We are pleased to announce this new service to support patients and their carers.

“Night-time can be a particularly difficult time for those needing end of life or palliative care. That’s where we hope this initiative will make a difference - by taking the pressure off carers and by providing care for each patient in their own home.

“Feedback from patients and their families in the west of the county has already been favourable.”

Deven Seetanah, Marie Curie Nursing Service Manager for NHS Norfolk, said: “Within the increased services across Norfolk, Marie Curie Cancer Care is delighted that more patients will be able to have a choice to die at home with the support of Marie Curie Nurses.”

Teresa Webb, NCH&C’s Locality Manager for West Norfolk, added: “We know that it is important to patients that they are able to access our expert nursing care in a setting of their choice, such as their own home.

“This improved service, delivered in partnership, will mean people can access further care at night, which will make the world of difference to patients in west Norfolk, as well as their families who often need just as much support when caring for a loved one.”