St Luke’s palliative care team look back on “first year”.

AT the end of June 2017 the local End of Life Care and Community MacMillan services transferred from North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT) to St. Luke’s Hospice, and became known as ‘The Community Palliative Care Team’ (CPCT).

Luke Year

St Luke’s Community Palliative Care Team can be contacted on 01268 988580

CPCT Manager Matt Goddard, reflects on the past year, explaining how working for the Hospice has made a positive difference to the Team and to people at end of life in the local community.

Matt joined the Team in 2010 as an Occupational Therapist working alongside Nurses in the community, becoming their Team Manager 4 years ago. During this time the Team had been transferred, due to contractual commissioning, in an out of three different care providers.

Matt explains ‘’The Team offers specialist care, support and advice to patients in their own homes. As well as supporting patients’ physical needs with pain and symptom control, we offer advice on ‘Care planning’, liaising with Hospitals, GP’s, care homes and consultants, informing and referring to services and agencies that will be of benefit ; we supply aids and equipment to enable people to adapt to their physical changes, helping to keep them mobile and safe; with effective networking we navigate patients through many complex situations removing a lot of the burden and worry they may have.

Broadly our aim is to support palliative care patients ‘holistically’, therefore, to my mind it was a ‘natural fit’ that we should have a much closer working relationship with the Hospice and actually be part of it ! So, together with the team, I was very excited about the prospect of working for St Luke’s’’.
The Team, are based at one of the Hospice’s satellite centres in Laindon and is made up of a mixture of palliative Clinical Nurse Specialists, Advanced Care Planning Practitioners and Occupational Therapists.

Reflecting on the past year Matt said ‘’During the past year there has been many changes, all of which has enabled us to streamline how we work and making the team more effective. Prior to joining the Hospice we all worked remotely on ‘hot desks’ at different venues, we are now all based in one office so there has been a great improvement in communication, team working and team moral. The team has been re-structured and integrated within the Hospice’s established ways of working, because of this we have been able to use our budget to increase the number of nursing staff, adding 3 Clinical Nurse Specialist to the team enabling us to make more home visits and increase the number of patients we are able to help. A further addition to the Team, which has made a huge difference, has been the appointment of Dr. Melanie Piggott to the team, as our Community Palliative Care Consultant. Dr Piggott had been working at St Luke’s In-patient Unit and Day Hospice for many years and brings a wealth of experience to the team, not only supporting and visiting patients in a consultancy capacity but also supporting the Clinical Nurses in their role with advice and mentoring.

There has also been a marked difference in team skill sets, as the Hospice has invested in supporting us with additional training and Clinical Supervision. Clinical Nurse Specialists have received training so they can prescribe medication – currently 6 Nurses have this specialism – by the end of the year a further 2 more will have received training. It’s important that we form a bond of ‘trust’ between ourselves and patients, however, this may mean that team members can become emotionally involved, exposing themselves to stress and upset when patients don’t respond to care as positively as we had hoped. To support the Team St. Luke’s offers emotional support to staff, something we did not have prior to joining the Hospice – I have noticed the difference this has made to the team and individuals. We are much ‘happier’ and able to cope better, responding to challenges as ‘one team’. There is definitely a different ‘vibe’ about our work, and how we approach it – a much better team spirit has developed and we feel appreciated – all of this I am sure has also improved our general approach to how we work’’

Thinking about the year ahead Matt said ‘’In the past year we have focused on settling in, restructuring and up-skilling. Going forward we want to continue to develop educationally, giving team members the skills and putting in place ways to formally share individual learning so that the whole team can benefit. Having re-structured we need to re-brand so that the Team has a closer identity to the St. Luke’s Hospice brand. We are going to focus on introducing and establishing the same Key Indicators, as used by St. Luke’s clinical teams, to monitor and measure our performance – this will be important in ensuring that we continue to develop as a ‘St. Luke’s Hospice team’ and deliver ever improving, specialist quality care to patients. We are hoping to develop our team to improve the care offered to our patients and their families and increasing the number of team members by employing ‘Associate Practitioners’, who will work and train alongside our Clinical Nurse Specialists
I am, personally, very proud to be working for St. Luke’s Hospice and being part of these beneficial changes. I know the Hospice has bold plans for their future, working here has opened my eyes to what is possible and there is so much more we may be able to achieve to support our community. I feel excited and am looking forward to being part of those developments’’.

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