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Shifting care from acute to community settings at end of life

Marie CurieMarie Curie’s model for better end of life care.

Death and dying are emotive topics which we often find painful to discuss. However, given the choice, we would all opt for a good death, surrounded by the people we love in our place of choice.

In Northern Ireland the need for end of life care is set to escalate given the expected growth in our ageing population, coupled with an anticipated increase in people with chronic conditions. We also know that too many people die in hospital, when the majority would prefer to die at home.

These factors, together with increased demand on acute services, are some of the key drivers for the government’s health reform programme, Transforming Your Care. This review of health and social care in Northern Ireland aims to get people to think differently about how we use and deliver health and social care. One of the key themes is a shift from acute to community services so that people can be cared for in their place of choice, and unnecessary hospital admissions are avoided.

At Marie Curie we have decades of experience in delivering palliative and end of life care to terminally ill patients, regardless of diagnosis, across Northern Ireland. We provide high quality care through our hospice and community nursing services, and patient choice is at the core of everything we do.

Recent independent research by the Nuffield Trust on the impact of the Marie Curie Nursing Service in patients’ home shows real benefits. The researchers found that our patients were three times less likely to be admitted to hospital in a crisis, twice as likely to die at home and incurred fewer costs, compared to patients not looked after by Marie Curie.

The Marie Curie Nursing Service delivers practical hands-on nursing care to patients; help with pain and symptom control; and emotional support to both patients and carers in their own homes. It provides a range of services, including 24/7 planned care as well as a responsive, unscheduled service, giving care  to patients where and when they need it, with support in place to ensure emergency hospital admissions are avoided.

The Marie Curie Hospice, Belfast, is a centre of excellence providing a comprehensive range of specialist palliative care services to patients in the greater Belfast area, including an in-patient unit, day hospice services and bereavement support.

In addition to caring for patients ourselves, Marie Curie also designs and advises on end of life services to ensure that the best possible care and patient choice is at the heart of commissioning. This partnership work brings together commissioners and providers from the public, independent and voluntary sectors to pioneer new ways of working and reduce unnecessary and costly hospital admissions at end of life.

PrintMarie Curie is  also a leading investor in high-quality palliative and end of life care research. We fund research that aims to improve our knowledge of end of life care, which in turn will benefit all patients, families and carers.

To find out more please visit: www.mariecurie.org.uk/impact
Contact: Joan McEwan
Head of Public Affairs in Northern Ireland for Marie Curie
Tel: 028 9088 2006

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