Rowcroft Hospice has been awarded funding from the national Hospice UK St James’s Place Charitable Foundation to help develop specialist care to patients with end stage heart failure.
The new provision will enable Rowcroft to expand its team of Community Nurse Specialists to include a temporary post that will focus on supporting the provision of hospice and supportive care to patients with end stage heart failure specifically.
A grant totalling £37,000 has been donated to fund the new service, which will run for a period of 18 months.
Rowcroft’s Director of Patient Care, Gill Horne, explained: “With this new funding we are beginning an 18 month project to identify patients with end-stage heart failure who may benefit from Rowcroft’s services, as well as other local supportive care services, to improve their access to our specialist care.”
A report published earlier this year by Hospice UK and the British Heart Foundation, in collaboration with the new Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre at the University of Hull, highlights how people living with advanced heart failure can benefit from personalised palliative care to help manage their symptoms, plan for the future and vastly improve wellbeing in their final months.
The report highlighted that 60,000 people die of heart failure each year in the UK, but they form only around four percent of people supported by specialist palliative care and hospice teams.
This report, combined with the hospice’s own research, led the Rowcroft team to want to develop this service.
Gill explained: “Only 44 patients with heart failure had a referral to Rowcroft Hospice services in 2016-17 from a caseload of circa 900 patients cared for by the local heart failure team.
“It is our hope that by providing a dedicated service we will be able to benefit up to 250 patients over the course of the project. We believe this will make a huge difference to those individuals who are living with heart failure, and their families.”
The hospice will also lead on a more integrated approach to care and proactively forge local relationships with healthcare professionals in cardiology, primary care and those involved in the care of older people to help support earlier referrals.
Gill said: “We will also be providing training to the local heart failure team in supporting patients to plan for end of life care, and our hospice teams will receive further training in the management of heart failure. Greater collaboration across different care settings will help us to ensure more people get the right care at the right time.”
In 2016 Rowcroft was forced to scale back a number of its services following a funding shortfall, but is now focussed on generating additional income to develop services for people living with life-limiting illnesses in South Devon once again.
Mark Hawkins, Chief Executive, said: “The report recently published by Hospice UK and the British Heart Foundation highlights inspiring case studies of how hospices are working collaboratively with local cardiology colleagues to have a real impact on people with heart failure. Our focus continues to be on developing services which make a real difference to the lives of local families irrespective of diagnosis or circumstance.”
Having supported local people living with life-limiting illnesses for the last 35 years, Rowcroft is committed to improving its financial stability and investing in services to provide support and care to all those who need it for many years to come.
Mark said: “Our wish is to extend our reach to enable us to support even more patients and their families when they need us most. Donations and grants such as this from the Hospice UK St James’s Place Charitable Foundation are an important part of securing and developing Rowcroft’s future.”
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