Charities join forces to boost out-of-hours care for terminally ill in Lewisham

Two crucial charities for the terminally ill have joined forces to boost out-of-hours care for people dying in Lewisham.

St Christopher’s and Marie Curie have joined forces to create the Rapid Response service, which launched on Monday, March 2, to be available overnight, seven-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year.

More than 82 per cent of people say they would want to die in the comfort of their own home – so the project is vital, especially in Lewisham, where hospital deaths are higher than the national average at 52.7 per cent.

The scheme aims to cut A&E admissions, and help people to stay at home.

The Rapid Response service will be available to give information and advice over the phone, as well as urgent, hands-on care for people in their own homes.

A joint statement said: “Both Marie Curie and St Christopher’s recognise that people living with life-limiting and terminal illnesses need to have access to support 24-7.

“This service will make sure nurses are able to offer advice over the phone as well as hands on support to relieve any unwanted symptoms and maximise people’s comfort throughout the night.”

Since 2017 St Christopher’s Hospice has experienced a 49 per cent increase in the amount of out-of-hours calls it receives.

“Now, working together, Marie Curie and St Christopher’s can strengthen out-of-hours care and make sure local people are looked after whenever and wherever they need it,” the statement said.

Marie Curie clinical manager for South-east London, Adebusola Olalekan-Sule said: “We are delighted to be launching the Rapid Response service, in partnership with St Christopher’s, which we hope will be a great benefit to the people of Lewisham who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

“One of the main benefits of Rapid Response is to help reduce admissions to local hospitals, and we constantly hear that most people who are terminally ill would rather be treated in their own home.

“When our nurses attend a home, they would be providing practical support not only for the patient, but for the whole family.”

Pictured top: Staff from Marie Curie and St Christopher’s

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