Care boost for patients

A PROJECT aimed at providing more support to patients and families affected by life-limiting and terminal illnesses has been backed by council bosses.

Hartlepool & District Hospice, in Wells Avenue, has been working closely with Hartlepool Borough Council to develop a more “co-ordinated and comprehensive” care management system.

The aim is to increase the number of personal budgets, personal health budgets and joint packages of care.

The pilot project will include:

l New patients without existing services being jointly assessed by hospice staff and social workers while accessing direct services in the hospice and or at home.

Once the level of need is determined they will be supported to access a personal budget, personal health budget, joint package of care or Continuing NHS Health Care.

l Existing hospice patients and their family carers will be “systematically re-assessed” and all will be supported to access help and support.

l The patients will have complete freedom to choose how they get their assessed needs met and change in circumstances monitored by hospice and social work professionals.

It was discussed at the council’s adult and public health services portfolio meeting.

The set up cost, including supporting the hospice to employ a project manager for one year, is £28,500 and the council will fund that on a one-off basis.

A report by John Lovatt, head of service (adults), said: “Hartlepool hospice is committed to promoting the personalisation agenda by offering greater choice, quality and control for patients and families who live with life-limiting and terminal illnesses, in partnership with Hartlepool Borough Council.

“The hospice has been working closely with the child and adult services department to develop a more co-ordinated and comprehensive assessment and care management system to ensure that all patients are offered the opportunity to access personal budgets and or personal health budgets in a more timely and responsive manner.

“By working together in a more co-ordinated way the objectives are to increase the number of personal budgets, personal health budgets, joint packages of care and, importantly, access to Continuing NHS Health Care for those patients and families who are affected by life-limiting and terminal illness.”

To help meet demand the hospice day respite facility needs to expand from three to five days a week.

The cost will be funded by the hospice, but bosses requested council funding towards the set up costs, including the project manager position.

The project manager will oversee the “development and implementation” of support plans.

Portfolio holder, independent councillor Hilary Thompson, said: “If we can help with the care management then it is our duty to do that.”

“It must be a help to people to be in control of their own care as long as there is a robust support system alongside.”