Partnership is helping more patients

Michele McKidd.
Michele McKidd.

A new partnership is helping care for more patients with potentially life-limiting conditions.

Marie Curie @ Northumbria is jointly funded by the Marie Curie charity and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to deliver high quality palliative and end of life care.

The number of patients seen by hospital palliative care liaison teams across North Tyneside General Hospital and the new specialist emergency care hospital has more than doubled to 498 in July this year, compared to 169 last year.

Modern matron Michele McKidd, for Marie Cure @ Northumbria, said: “The increase in the patients we are seeing across our wards is a testament to the hard work of the expanded teams.

“As the teams grow, they are able to work more proactively in supporting patients across the wards.”

“Offering this care and support to patients who have life limiting conditions or who are nearing the end of their lives and their families, is making our care more responsive to their needs.”

The Hospital Palliative Care Liaison Teams are made up of specialist nurses and palliative medicine consultants and are on hand to support people with palliative care needs who are being treated in wards across the hospitals.

Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life of patients and their families when facing potentially life limiting illnesses. This is done by providing expert care, symptom control and support. It also offers support for patients having ongoing treatment.

Four new palliative care nurses have been recruited to the teams across the three hospitals since the beginning of the partnership between the Trust and Marie Curie in January, more than doubling the team to seven palliative care nurses.

A unique part of the work of the teams is that they can accompany a patient home in the first 24 hours after being discharged from hospital to ensure a smooth transfer of care to community teams who are working with patients and their families.

Marie Curie @ Northumbria is using modern technology to inform the specialist teams in real time when a patient who is known to them is being admitted to hospital.

Electronic alerts come via email to the nurses’ phones to tell them a patient known to palliative care has come to hospital which enables the nurses and consultants to go and meet the patient and provide specialist support no matter what ward they are in.

Audrey Rowe, regional nursing service manager for Marie Curie, said: “We’re really pleased that this fantastic partnership, bringing together innovation from both the voluntary sector and NHS, is helping local people living with a terminal illness to have access to and support from the services that they need.

“As the UK’s leading charity caring for people with terminal illness, we know the importance of working in partnership with local NHS trusts to deliver the right care at the right time, in the right place.”