FNH@Home marks successful first year of community patient care
When Florence Nightingale Hospice launched their new Hospice at Home community care service in October last year, they could not have predicted how their first year would develop.
“Research showed that up to 70% of people say they want to die at home, where they feel most comfortable.” says Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity’s Chief Executive Officer, Jo Turner. “Yet more than half of us will die in hospital, often following an emergency admission during the last two weeks of life.”
“We identified that by expanding the Hospice’s existing Nightingale 24/7 team and adding qualified nurses who could administer medication, we would have a more responsive team who could support more patients to stay at home across the Aylesbury Vale area. We were so pleased to be able to launch the FNH@Home service last year to fill this need.”
Avoiding emergency admissions and staying at home became even more important this year with the arrival of COVID-19. Patients and their families were increasingly worried about being admitted to hospital for fear that they would be unable to receive visitors once on a ward. The Hospice’s In-Patient Unit also had to close to visitors. This meant even more patients than expected were being supported by FNH@Home instead – the team have been making over 200 home visits a month. This additional care would not have been possible without the dedicated team.
“We did everything we could so that the nurses could still come. We were so scared that he would have to go into hospital and we would be unable to see him”, says Liza Brissenden-Hemstock whose father was cared for by the FNH@Home team in March. “I can’t explain how absolutely wonderful the nurses were during this, the most difficult of times. They were serenely patient and supportive and looked after Dad (and the rest of us), with great kindness and dignity. Because of their dedication and kindness, Dad had a ‘good death’ at home, just how he wanted; and I will never forget that.”
The FNH@Home team of 12 palliative care nurses and healthcare assistants were able to continue the service throughout the Covid-19 lockdown providing symptom control medication as well as physical, psychological and social support to patients and their families in their homes.
The nurses and healthcare assistants now wear full PPE on home visits, including wearing masks and gowns. Whilst challenging, this has not prevented them from continuing to delivering excellent care to patients and support to their families.
The Hospice are now looking to recruit more nurses to the team to enable FNH@Home to become a 24 hour service.