End of Life Co-ordination Centre ensures that patients have a good end of life experience

29 September 2022

A Community Specialist Palliative and End-of-Life Coordination Centre has been launched in Oldham to help ensure that palliative care patients receive a good end-of-life experience.

The Community Specialist Palliative Care Coordination Centre was launched in May 2021 and since then it has helped patients and their families to receive an improved end-of-life experience by providing a single point of contact for any palliative or end-of-life enquiries.

The launch of the centre has involved a great deal of multi-agency partnership working from organisations across the health economy including the Royal Oldham Hospital, NHS Oldham CCG, Dr Kershaw’s Hospice, Pennine Care NHS, General Practice, Oldham Community Health and Social Care, Oldham Council as well as voluntary and community groups. All these stakeholders have all been involved in the design of the centre’s operating model.

Operating 7 days a week the aim of the centre is to provide a single point of contact for patients, family & friends as well as health and care professionals to access the community specialist palliative care team and ensure a speedy response to any requests contact regarding for palliative or end-of-life care or treatment.

Kay Miller, End of Life Integrated Care Locality Lead and Community Divisional Director of Nursing, at Oldham Care Organisation, explains: “It’s taken a lot of collaboration and work with local partners to set up the coordination centre, but we hope that having a single point of contact will help us to address the variation in access to palliative care, end of life care choices and bereavement support available locally. Greater integration between health and social care services can only help to improve the palliative care and end-of-life experience we provide to patients across Oldham and help us better manage the demands placed upon our community care and nursing services.”

Since launch, the Coordination Centre has acted as the first point of contact for health care professionals, as well as service users and their loved ones. Patients can contact the service with any queries they have about palliative or end-of-life care provided in the community, residential care or nursing homes. The centre is staffed by a Specialist Palliative Care Nurse, who is able to provide advice and rapid review for any enquiries received and assist with care for patients with more holistic needs.

Rebecca Green, Lead Nurse for Community Specialist Palliative Care, EOL care and Bereavement in Oldham explains how the service works: “The centre deals with a whole range of enquiries and these can include requests for medication reviews, advance care planning and conversations about the patient’s preferred place of care or death. We can also refer patients onto more appropriate services for advice and support, depending on their needs and wishes.”

The Specialist Nurses who staff the Coordination Centre work closely with many other agencies and are well placed to coordinate available help and support. This ensures that palliative and end-of-life patients are able to have their care and treatment requirements met quickly in the community, ensuring a good experience during what is often a difficult time for patients and their families.

By providing a responsive community service, the coordination centre is also helping to avoid patients having to call 999 in times of crisis or having to go to hospital to receive palliative or end-of-life care. This means that patients are empowered to choose where they would prefer to be cared for in their final days, ensuring a better end-of-life experience for them and their families.

Given the clear benefits the coordination centre has proven to be very successful and is popular with patients, their families & loved ones as well as health and care professionals alike. The centre is looking to build on the work it has done so far by strengthening links and awareness of the service with community allied health professionals, local partners and nursing and residential homes in Oldham, to help further develop and embed the service locally.

Contact details for the coordination centre are held by health care providers across Oldham and are passed to patients and to their families when a need is identified.

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