Dedicated end of life care team awarded

A team of health and social care staff working to make patients’ final months as comfortable and dignified as possible have been recognised with a national award.

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The Stockport End of Life Team, comprising district nurses, social care staff and commissioners, has been recognised for their work in improving services across the borough.

At an award ceremony in London last week (29th June), representatives from Stockport picked up the Successful Service Integration accolade from the Healthcare Transformation Awards.

The team were crowned winners after demonstrating to the judges that the changes that have been made to End of Life care in Stockport have resulted in dramatic improvements for people using the services.

The End of Life service provides support for people who are in the last months or weeks of their lives, working to ensure people live their final days as well as possible, are involved in making choices about their care, and die with dignity.

By working much closer together, the teams delivering care on the ground have been able to ensure that care is co-ordinated and tailored to the needs of the individual needing their support.

Working in this new way has meant that contact and communication is maintained with the patient, as well as their family. It has also meant that support can be delivered through both planned visits and on an ad hoc basis so that crises and hospital admission can be avoided as far possible.

Prior to the services changes, which have been in operation across the borough since 2014, 70% of expected deaths were taking place in a hospital environment. This was despite many people expressing their desire to die at home. But, since the service change was implemented, there has been a significant change in the number of deaths at home, with 92% of patients now being able to die in their preferred place.

Elaine Whittaker, Senior Service Reform Manager at Stockport NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), who led these changes, said: “It’s really encouraging to be recognised for this work. The team has worked really hard to deliver these changes, and it’s brilliant to see so many people receiving the care they deserve at a difficult time.

“The dedicated teams across Stockport support people who are in the last weeks of life in their own home or care home. They carry out joint assessments with the patient, and then work to develop a single care plan that can be followed by all health and care professionals to deliver clinical, emotional and psychological support.”

The changes made to the End of Life service, and the learning that has been taken from this, are part of the Stockport Together work which is aiming to fundamentally transform health and social care across the borough by providing joined up services.

Stockport Together is a partnership between the CCG, Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council, Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust and the GP federation, Viaduct Health.

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In 2015, Stockport was chosen as one of 50 areas nationally to try out this new way of providing services and was named a ‘Vanguard’ site by NHS England.

Stockport Together is an integral part of the ambitious plans set out in December by Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, the body made up of the 37 NHS organisations and councils in the city region, which is overseeing devolution and taking charge of the £6bn health and social care budget.

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