St Barnabas Hospice leads the way for innovative healthcare in Lincolnshire

22nd December 2021

On the back of winning the Michael Howard Award from Hospice UK, the Community Care Nurse Specialists at St Barnabas Hospice have now picked up the Innovation in Healthcare and Wellbeing award at the Lincolnshire Technology and Innovation Awards hosted by CityX.

Coupled with their double award win, the Hospice is delighted to announce that this service, which was originally given funding from Lincolnshire County Council for two years, has now been awarded permanent support and funding going forwards.

Tracey Perrett, Head of Service, Hospitals and Special Projects at Lincolnshire County Council said, “This is a great example of the impact of collaboration and innovative working – delivered with a shared vision and making a difference to people and their families at the end of life. Lincolnshire is the only place that has this service, with the county council grant funding. And the great news going forward is that it’s been agreed to support this service on a permanent basis.”

The service came about when Kerry Bareham, Nurse Consultant at St Barnabas Hospice, penned a dissertation for her MSc which highlighted the need for more support in hospitals in identifying palliative care needs. This research informed a business case for the role of Community Care Nurse Specialists.

These nurses, employed by St Barnabas Hospice, were placed in Lincoln County and Boston Pilgrim hospitals to educate clinicians on how to identify patients in their last year of life and develop person-centred planning. Without fantastic support from United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust and the Adult Social Care team at Lincolnshire County Council, the roles would not have been possible.

The two nurses – Ashleigh Robinson (Lincoln) and Holly Musgrave Boston) began their roles as Community Care Nurse Specialists in 2019. In the past two years, they have been pivotal in having important conversations with patients and families around future care needs.

In their first year in the role, they supported an incredible 552 patients to access end-of-life care sooner. This is a phenomenal increase of 36.1% compared to before their roles existed.

Kerry Bareham, Nurse Consultant at St Barnabas Hospice said, “I am so proud of Holly and Ashleigh for the work they have done over the past two years, especially as I have had so much involvement in the project from the offset.

“My research identified that most people have at least three unplanned hospital admissions in their last year of life. If just one unplanned hospital admission was avoided for each of the 552 patients supported by Ashleigh and Holly, this could have equated to £460,000 in savings for the NHS. This is based on an average admission cost of £2,500 and factoring in that community care costs 2/3 of secondary hospital care.”

Ashleigh added, “I have worked at St Barnabas for many years, so when the opportunity to apply for this role came up, it felt like a perfect fit. It feels great knowing I can support even more people across Lincolnshire whilst continuing to work for an amazing charity. To win this award means a lot, and I am extremely proud.

“I am now undertaking my master’s degree alongside the role, and plan to base my dissertation around the role and its benefits.”

Julie Bishop, PCCC Clinical Lead Nurse at St Barnabas Hospice said, “The Community Care Nurse Specialist service is a fantastic example of collaboration. The organisations share the vision of identifying patients that would benefit from palliative care services as early as possible.

“This early identification helps people get timely support, enabling the patient to remain at the centre of their care, making important choices about how and where they would like their care . Early identification also offers opportunities for palliative rehabilitation which helps support a good quality of life, which enables people to live as fully as possible for as long as possible.

“By working closely together, we have greater understanding and respect for each other’s roles and responsibilities, sharing knowledge and experience in a safe environment to benefit the people and their families who are referred to our service.”

The Community Care Nurse Specialist roles are now a highly valued part of the local healthcare system, and it is anticipated that this work will be able to expand across other hospital settings that care for the residents of Lincolnshire.

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