Acting on referrals from healthcare professionals, the Woodfield 24 Care Services staff will be called in – often at very short notice – to provide care and support to those who want to die at home rather than at hospital or in a hospice.
Team members will go into people’s homes to help out with everyday household needs, where they will work alongside district nurses and other community staff.
Jo Keyes, Registered Manager from Flourish Enterprises, which manages the new service, said: The care staff will start off helping to look after people whose health is quickly deteriorating to the point that they are not expected to live beyond the following few days. But the service will eventually be extended to include those who are in the final few weeks of their life.
“They will provide ‘tailored’ personal care for each person dependent on their needs, helping out with home-based tasks so the patient and their family can be as comfortable as possible during what can be a very distressing and emotional time.
“This could include, for example, feeding and washing the person and providing night sitting support to give their family some rest. But there will be a number of other tasks they could help with as well, such as taking the family dog for a walk if that’s needed. The key aim of the service is look after a patient’s social care needs while the nursing teams provide the clinical care.
“We are starting out with 18 staff but expect to expand to 25 very shortly. Many of those we have recruited have had personal experience of looking after a dying relative and want to help others who are now in the same situation.”
Every year around 3,000 people die in Doncaster. Currently many people die in hospital because there has not been a dedicated social care service to help out if they have wanted to end their days at home.
Dr Nick Tupper, Chair of NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group, which is funding the service, said: “We want Doncaster people to have a good death, surrounded by their loved ones and at a place of their choice. Currently around 57 per cent of Doncaster people die at hospital and we know that most would rather die at home.
“This service, which we believe is unique within the NHS, now gives them the choice. The team can respond at very short notice and provide vital home-based support to patients, their families and carers through the all-important last part of someone’s life.”