Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Charity has secured a grant from NHS Charities Together to fund a new palliative care discharge nurse, based at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, following a successful funding bid.
The new post will be employed and managed by Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice, who are the local charity who work in partnership with the Trust to provide the patient-centred hospital palliative care service at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
The discharge nurse will support patients who are approaching the end of their lives to be discharged from hospital with an individual care plan in place. They will work closely with patients and their families to ensure their care needs are met and that they are connected to available community services.
A major part of the role will be to support the patient to be cared for in their own home where possible, reducing the chance of them being readmitted to hospital. This in turn will improve their quality of life and better use the time and resources of care staff.
Home is where the majority of terminally ill people choose to be at the end of their life, and the pandemic has further highlighted the importance of giving patients the option to be comfortable at home, surrounded by loved ones whenever possible.
The work the nurse does will complement that of the hospice’s doctors and clinical nurse specialists that make up the rest of the hospital palliative care team.
Angela Helleur, Chief Nurse/Chief Operating Officer at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust said: “Providing a high-quality palliative care service that considers the individual needs and wishes of our end of life patients is so important to us. It is absolutely fantastic that funding has been secured for a discharge nurse who will provide such meaningful support to so many local patients and families.”
Margarita Vidiella, Head of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Charity said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to NHS Charities Together and also to the members of the public whose generous donations have made it possible for us to create this new post. We know it will have such a valuable impact on our community and I’m really looking forward to continuing our partnership working with Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice.”
Kate Heaps, Chief Executive at Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice said: “When someone who is approaching the end of their life is admitted to hospital, it often signifies a change in their condition that will require additional support when they return home. The patient and their family are often facing significant change and uncertainty and I’m so grateful that the charity have agreed to fund the work of a dedicated discharge nurse so that we can make sure we do all we can to make that transition to home as safe and comfortable as possible.”
The recruitment and selection process for the position has begun and the nurse will be in post in due course.
Pictured from left to right: Margarita Vidiella, Head of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Charity, Angela Helleur, Chief Nurse/Chief Operating Officer at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, Kate Heaps, CEO of Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice and Natalie Moseley, Palliative Care Team Leader.