If you need additional assistance reading our website please use our accessibility tool.


Expanded specialist hospital teams caring for double the number of patients with life limiting conditions as part of Marie Curie @Northumbria

Tuesday, 05 January, 2016
Expanded specialist hospital teams caring for double the number of patients with life limiting conditions as part of Marie Curie @Northumbria

The number of patients with potentially life limiting conditions who are being cared for by specialist teams at hospitals run by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has doubled thanks to new partnership Marie Curie @ Northumbria.

The partnership, which launched early in 2015, is jointly funded by the charity Marie Curie and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and aims to deliver high quality palliative and end of life care and support to people living in Northumberland and North Tyneside.

The number of patients seen by Hospital Palliative Care Liaison Teams across general wards in North Tyneside General Hospital, Wansbeck General Hospital and more recently the new specialist emergency care hospital The Northumbria has more than doubled to 498 patients in July 2015 compared to 169 the previous year.

The Hospital Palliative Care Liaison Teams are made up of specialist nurses and palliative medicine consultants and are on hand to support people with palliative care needs who are being treated in wards across the hospitals.

Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life of patients and their families when facing potentially life limiting illnesses. This is done by providing expert care, symptom control and support. It also offers support for patients having ongoing treatment.

Four new palliative care nurses have been recruited to the teams across the three hospitals since the beginning of the partnership between the Trust and Marie Curie in January 2015, more than doubling the team to seven palliative care nurses.  Recruitment is continuing to expand the teams with another three palliative care nurses in the New Year.

The first phase of the Marie Curie @ Northumbria partnership has seen the recruitment of Michele, first modern matron for palliative care in the Trust, as well as the appointment of the nurses to expand the Hospital Palliative Care Liaison Teams.

Modern matron Michele McKidd for Marie Cure @ Northumbria, said: “The increase in the patients we are seeing across our wards is a testament to the hard work of the expanded teams. As the teams grow they are able to work more proactively in supporting patients across the wards. Offering this care and support to patients who have life limiting conditions or who are nearing the end of their lives and their families, is making our care more responsive to their needs.”

A unique part of the work of the teams is that they can accompany a patient home in the first 24 hours after being discharged from hospital to ensure a smooth transfer of care to community teams who are working with patients and their families.

“This is an added crucial benefit of the teams for patients and their families as the first 24 hours when a patient returns home from hospital can be a vulnerable time,” said Michele.

Marie Curie @ Northumbria is using modern technology to inform the specialist teams in real time when a patient who is known to them is being admitted to hospital.

Electronic alerts come via email to the nurses’ phones to tell them a patient known to palliative care has come to hospital which enables the nurses and consultants to go and meet the patient and provide specialist support no matter what ward they are in.

As with many communities across the UK, the number of older people is growing meaning there will be a greater number of people with long term health conditions and the emphasis of this service is to meet these complex needs and deliver a better level of care.

Audrey Rowe, Regional Nursing Service Manager for Marie Curie, said: “We’re really pleased that this fantastic partnership, bringing together innovation from both the voluntary sector and NHS, is helping local people living with a terminal illness to have access to and support from the services that they need.

“As the UK’s leading charity caring for people with terminal illness, we know the importance of working in partnership with local NHS trusts to deliver the right care at the right time, in the right place. It is all the more poignant around this time of year, to ensure people have responsive and personalised care and support for themselves and their families, so they can make the most of the time they have together.”

Phase two of Marie Curie @ Northumbria will enable the expansion of the community palliative care teams which will aim to reduce the number of unnecessary hospital admissions for patients with palliative care needs, which can be traumatic for them and their families.

It will support them to be treated and cared for at a setting of choice in the community or at home. Macmillan Cancer Support also help to deliver the community aspect of our service.

The service is jointly funded by Marie Curie and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

If you or someone you know is in need support, please see the Macmillan Cancer Support Online Community for a friendly chat with like-minded people about issues related to cancer.