St Barnabas Hospice were delighted to receive the Michael Howard Award at this year’s Hospice UK conference, acknowledging work done by their Community Care Nurse Specialists.
The Michael Howard Award recognises the importance of innovation in collaborative partnerships between hospices and hospitals to enable more people to be cared for in their preferred place at the end of life.
In 2017, Kerry Bareham, Nurse Consultant at St Barnabas Hospice, penned a dissertation for her MSc which highlighted the need for more support in hospitals in identifying palliative care needs. This research informed a business case for the role of Community Care Nurse Specialists.
These nurses, employed by St Barnabas Hospice, were placed in Lincoln County and Boston Pilgrim hospitals to educate clinicians on how to identify patients in their last year of life and develop person-centred planning. Without fantastic support from United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust and the Adult Social Care team at Lincolnshire County Council, the roles would not have been possible.
The two nurses – Ashleigh Robinson (Lincoln) and Holly Musgrave Boston) began their roles as Community Care Nurse Specialists in 2019. In the past two years, they have been pivotal in having important conversations with patients and families around future care needs.
In their first year in the role, they supported an incredible 552 patients to access end-of-life care sooner. This is a phenomenal increase of 36.1% compared to before their roles existed.
Kerry Bareham, Nurse Consultant at St Barnabas Hospice said, “I am so proud of Holly and Ashleigh for the work they have done over the past two years, especially as I have had so much involvement in the project from the offset.
“My research identified that most people have at least three unplanned hospital admissions in their last year of life. If just one unplanned hospital admission was avoided for each of the 552 patients supported by Ashleigh and Holly, this could have equated to £460,000 in savings for the NHS. This is based on an average admission cost of £2,500 and factoring in that community care costs 2/3 of secondary hospital care.”
Ashleigh added, “I have worked at St Barnabas for many years, so when the opportunity to apply for this role came up, it felt like a perfect fit. It feels great knowing I can support even more people across Lincolnshire whilst continuing to work for an amazing charity. To win this award means a lot, and I am extremely proud.
“I am now undertaking my master’s degree alongside the role, and plan to base my dissertation around the role and its benefits.”
The Community Care Nurse Specialist roles are now a highly valued part of the local healthcare system, and it is anticipated that this work will be able to expand across other hospital settings that care for the residents of Lincolnshire.