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New community model is making a difference

You may be aware that in May 2017 we were commissioned by the East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGS) to provide a Rapid Response Service for patients and their families.

This includes a Rapid Response Team and 24/7 Advice Line for Berkshire residents who are approaching the end of their lives and wish to be cared for at home. This means that we can not only give round-the-clock telephone advice, but we can also provide urgent home visits 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to patients in need of symptom control, emotional support and personal care.

Through careful promotion with community healthcare partners, The Rapid Response Service has been getting busier and busier and more people who need us are hearing about the new initiative. We listened to our patients, we acted on their feedback, and we know that we are making a real difference to people at one of the most difficult, frightening and lonely times of their lives.

On top of the Rapid Response Service and commissioned by the CCGs, we are now providing all specialist community palliative care services for patients in East Berkshire. The Community Palliative Care Team (CPCT) was run by both Thames Hospice and Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, but we are now directly managing this team. The CPCT is available every day from 8.30am to 6.30pm, to provide proactive, ongoing support for patients with palliative care needs. The team works closely with the Rapid Response Service.

We know we are seeing more patients who want to be cared for in their own homes and now, with the right level of support, we are further able to meet their wishes. We also know that in the past, it has been confusing for people to know who to call when they need help. Thames Hospice managing these services from one single point means we are providing a more coordinated, effective and responsive service for our patients and families in the community –improving communication and preventing unnecessary hospital admissions. Additionally, patients and their loved ones will have access to further specialist services available at Thames Hospice – such as therapy and counselling.

I think it is reassuring for someone to be able to call one number if they need help, night or day, 365 days a year, and we are proud to be delivering that. We will continue to work very closely with GPs and district nurses, amongst the many other healthcare providers in East Berkshire, to enable patients to be cared for where they choose to be cared for.

Jacquie Batchford, Director of Patient and Family Services

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