A Leeds hospice is marking Hospice Care Week by revealing plans to work more closely with hospitals and other healthcare organisations.
Sue Ryder Wheatfields in Headingley is also launching a scheme where volunteers will receive professional training before visiting patients’ homes, offering them support as they battle their illness.
The volunteers will also be trained in helping family members deal with bereavement.
Helen Ankrett, palliative care services manager at Wheatfields, said the hospice plans to work in partnership with GPs and hospitals to ensure more people can be cared for in their own homes.
Since 2009, Wheatfields has seen a 35 per cent increase in referral numbers, a 30 per cent increase in day therapy unit referrals and an 18 per cent increase in home visits.
Helen said: “With the changing demographic, there’s going to be a massive increase in people with long-term conditions.
“Our aim is to provide support and education to professionals so these patients can be cared for in their own homes.
“The majority of people want to die at home and their needs can be met by their GP, community nurses, community matrons and other specialists.
“We’ll have more doctors coming into the hospice for work placements and we’ll be working with other healthcare teams to help them recognise what people need and give them support in their homes.”
Wheatfields is also using Hospice Care Week to highlight its changing role, with community services and outpatient clinics available to patients.
Helen added: “People still think of the hospice as somewhere people come to die.
“But there’s a whole range of services which means patients can come in for short spells and then go home. It’s not just the final weeks of their life.”
Wheatfields needs to raise £2.8m every year to continue providing care services. For more details, call 0113 278 7249 or visit: www.sueryder.org