Improving end of life care across the local area | Latest news

Improving end of life care across the local area

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The NHS has been working with local people and care partners to understand how end-of-life care can be improved across Waltham Forest and Redbridge. At the same time, teams in West Essex continue to evolve the delivery of services for people in areas such as Loughton, Chigwell and Buckhurst Hill.

Hundreds of conversations with local people, health professionals, local politicians and the organisations providing services have taken place over the past three years. These discussions have highlighted opportunities to improve the way palliative and end-of-life care is provided across the local area, whether that is through support at home, via a specialist hospice, or at Whipps Cross Hospital.

The local NHS now plans to roll out a number of initial improvements which will enhance existing services. Whipps Cross Hospital will continue to deliver end-of-life and palliative care both in the Margaret Centre facility - which is a combination of acute general care and palliative care beds and some hospice-like beds, mainly accessed via the hospital’s Emergency Department -  and in its gold standard framework wards. 

At this time, the analysis of data does not support re-providing the current bed-based services of the Margaret Centre in a new community-based facility in the Whipps Cross catchment area.

However, no decisions about the future bed base across the catchment area have yet been made, as it is not clear what the impact of the proposed improvements to community services will be, so it is therefore too soon to make firm recommendations.

 What care is currently available?

  • People living in Redbridge have access to a 24/7 Hospice at Home service, as well as the opportunity to use inpatient services at Saint Francis Hospice.
  • In Waltham Forest, people can access generalist and specialist palliative care support at home, from Monday to Friday. Waltham Forest residents can also access inpatient services at St Joseph’s Hospice. People living in the two boroughs also receive end-of-life care at Whipps Cross Hospital. Care is provided both on general wards, through a nationally recognised gold-standard framework, and via an enhanced palliative care service in the Margaret Centre.

 Service improvements

The improvements planned to be rolled out include:

  • extending the specialist palliative care service in Waltham Forest to seven days a week
  • introducing a single point of access and improving care co-ordination
  • improving links with pharmacies to increase access to out-of-hours medication
  • simplifying the referral pathway, so that more people who choose to go into hospice care can do so providing more support for end-of-life care in nursing homes

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