End of life project scoops national award

A project which supports end of life patients to die in a place of their choosing has won a national award.

North East Ambulance Service’s end of life transport project gives terminally ill patients the option to be transported by ambulance with a specially trained crew to their preferred place to die within the region and ensures they get there in the most caring and comfortable way possible - reducing stress levels at a difficult time.

The service has now transported more than 2,200 patients to their chosen location since its launch in October 2015.

The majority of these patients were picked up from hospital and taken home to die.

In recognition of its value to patients, the service won the Enhancing Patient Dignity Award at this year’s Nursing Times Awards, held in London on 2 November.

Building on this work, the Trust is now in the process of recruiting an end of life team within the Emergency Operations Centre, with support from Macmillan Cancer Support.

As well as providing training for staff, the dedicated Macmillan team will work with other healthcare and social care providers throughout the North East to ensure patients’ care plans are fed into the system so their wishes can be respected throughout the process.

As well as providing better patient care, it is hoped this service will mean more patients can continue to be cared for at home and prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital.

Yvonne Ormston, NEAS Chief Executive, said: “We are incredibly proud of our end of life service, which we run with support from St John Ambulance crews.

“For those nearing the end of their life, it is incredibly important that they are in a place where they feel comfortable and cared for, surrounded by loved ones. Speed can be critical at this time and our scheme ensures patients are picked up within a timely manner to be taken to their chosen location.

“To be recognised on a national scale for having delivered pioneering services for people at the end of their life demonstrates the need for dedicated services like this.

“We are now looking forward to further improving the care we provide to this group of patients through our innovative Macmillan scheme.”

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