Making a difference to End of Life care in Northamptonshire

The Practice Development Team at Cransley Hospice’s mission is to educate as many health and social care professionals as possible so that they too can make a difference to End of Life care in Northamptonshire.

2020 highlighted how important it is that people are able to be cared for and die in the right way for them.  Not only is this important to the individual towards the end of their life, but to the family and carers too. The news has reported too frequently about patients with COVID who have sadly died without their loved ones and how family members have been left broken because they didn’t get to say goodbye or hold a hand.  The strain on hospital staff who have done their best to facilitate communication between families and loved ones has been clear to see.

The Practice Development Team at Cransley Hospice’s mission is to educate as many health and social care professionals as possible, to enable them with the skills and knowledge to support people through their end of life journey, comfortably and peacefully, to support the family through the most difficult time so that they too are taken care of and have the best memories possible.

Amanda Taylor, our Clinical Nurse Specialist who heads up the small busy Practice Development Team shared a little about the amazing work this team does to help people have their best End of Life journey and how it is having a positive impact, making a difference to so many families in north Northamptonshire.

Amanda and her team are responsible for delivering training to staff outside the hospice – such as GP’s, carers and student nurses so that they can give the right care and support to patients, residents and loved ones at the right time, at their end of life.

In 2018, Cransley Hospice Trust and Cynthia Spencer Hospice Charity supported the team to develop and deliver a series of ‘End of Life Care Masterclasses’ to 440 GPs in the county.  The masterclasses were hugely successful; equipping GPs with specialist knowledge and skills required to support their patients who are coming towards their end of life.

One of the key education programmes the Practice Development Team deliver to Care Homes in the county is the Nationally recognised Gold Standard Framework Programme

A Northamptonshire residential care home, Rookery Cottage Care Home, in Thorpe Malsor recently benefited from the training; Manager, Derry Bass said: “The training has helped us by giving us a process to audit, track and manage the journey of our residents from when they first come into the home, right through to their end of life.  It’s given the team skills and confidence, taking away a lot of stress.  Everyone knows how to do the right thing at the right time so that we can deliver the best outcomes for a resident and their family – everyone is on that journey together whether they are family or part of the care team.”

Around 6,000 people die each year in Northamptonshire, this year there has been a 35% increase of people dying at home, whether that’s their own home or a care home.  The training programmes delivered by the Practice Development Team, supported by Cransley Hospice and Cynthia Spencer has meant that more doctors, carers and families are educated and supported to be able to cope and deliver the best possible end of life care for their patients or loved ones so that their journey is remembered in the right way.

Amanda Taylor said, “The reach of the care and education we deliver goes beyond the walls of the hospice, our aim is to support those caring for people coming towards the end of their life to deliver the best care possible.”