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Hospice at Home roll-out success means more Fenland people can choose to die in their own homes

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More people in Fenland are choosing to die in their own homes surrounded by loved-ones thanks to a new service that is providing end of life care.

Hospice at Home, which is being run by the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity under the leadership of Emma Bratby ​and Michelle Knight (matron) out of the Alan Hudson Day Care Centre in Wisbech, provides the type of care normally only available in a hospital or a hospice.

It means more people can stay in their own homes and receive top quality end of life care, including essential pain relief, thanks to a dedicated team of around ​17 staff, including nurses.

The Hospice at Home team, from left (front) Josi Ransome, Maria Harrell, Lisa-Marie Ball, (middle) team lead Emma Bratby, (back) Michelle Knight, Amanda Valintine and Leah Turner.
The Hospice at Home team, from left (front) Josi Ransome, Maria Harrell, Lisa-Marie Ball, (middle) team lead Emma Bratby, (back) Michelle Knight, Amanda Valintine and Leah Turner.

Emma, who is the Hospice at Home lead nurse for the scheme, which covers the whole of Fenland and East Cambridgeshire, recognised the need for such a service as she lives in Chatteris and understands the difficulties families face having to travel to see loved ones in hospitals or hospices outside the area.

Emma, who has ​10 years of experience working ​for Arthur Rank Hospice, said: “When it was first talked about I ​desperately wanted to run the scheme and ​be able to set it up from scratch ​as I knew there was a desperate need for the service in Fenland”

“We have a fantastic team who offer specialist hands-on care and support to both patients and their families at what is a truly difficult time, as people reach the last few days or weeks of their lives.

“Our staff can make up to three visits a day and can dedicate as much time as necessary for each patient – we are not just in an out, we offer​specialist high quality​ end of life care ​and are currently the only team in Fenland that is offering this much-needed service”

“We offer psychological support to everybody involved. We are there for the patients and their families, providing the clinical expertise needed and allowing families to spend precious time together.

“Obviously there are times when the situation becomes too difficult and there is no option but to have a patient admitted either to hospital or to a hospice, but​ where possible, we aim to support patients to achieve their final wish to die at home.”

Emma is thrilled with the way the scheme has been rolled out so quickly, after it was announced last ​March that the expansion of Hospice at Home service across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough would be fast tracked.

She said: “Within months I had recruited all the necessary staff and we have three teams covering the area which stretches from Wisbech, to Ely and Soham and all the towns and villages in between.

“At the moment we are caring for ​15 patients, but obviously the number fluctuates, but we are always very very busy.

“This service is so important. We are providing better quality of care in an area of ​rural deprivation.”

“We are lucky because we work closely ​under the leadership of Michelle and she is able to prescribe, which means if we need to change doses of medication then she can provide​ expert clinical palliative knowledge rapidly and prescribe, which is ​equal to the service you would find within a hospice.

“We have an amazing team and I’m extremely proud of the service we are providing.

“We are looking after people through the toughest times, and the kind of support we provide helps give families the peace of mind they​ deserve.

“We are able to ​facilitate rapid discharge from hospital by ordering essential equipment ​to ensure patients wanting to die at home can be discharged to their own homes with their loved ones.”

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