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​24-hour advice line and rapid response service supports thousands of local families

This month marks two years since Thames Hospice launched its 24-hour Advice Line and Rapid Response Service, commissioned by the East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), to help people with life-limiting illnesses manage their condition at home.

Last year, the team handled more than 11,700 calls and made 1,623 urgent visits to families requiring end-of-life care and support at home.

Jacquie Batchford, Thames Hospice Director of Patient and Family Services, said: “I am so proud of our Rapid Response Team who provide vital care and support to those people in our community facing the last year of their life. It is reassuring for many of our patients and their loved ones to know that they can pick up the phone and talk to a palliative care expert, at any time of the day or night, to manage their condition and avoid unnecessary hospital visits. I’m delighted that our service also supports our local NHS hospitals as well as other health professionals.”

The Rapid Response Service includes a palliative care telephone service, to give advice to local people on the End-of-Life Care Register and their families as well as healthcare professionals who need guidance and support on delivering palliative care.

The specialist team is available 24/7, 365 days a year, to provide guidance on symptom control, practical advice and emotional support. As part of the service a Rapid Response Team, made up of a Registered Nurse and Health Care Assistant, make urgent visits to patients on the End-of-life Care Register.

The Rapid Response Team visited Rodney and Mary Fox at their home in Crowthorne and were there to offer them practical care and emotional support. Mary said: “Thames Hospice was here all day helping Rodney and enabling me to be around to give him reassurance.Without the Rapid Response Team I would have been completely and utterly lost.”

Jo Greengrass, Associate Director of Nursing – Quality & Safety – for East Berkshire CCG, said: “A lot of people have excellent care in hospitals, hospices, care homes or in their own homes when they are dying. However sometimes, when someone suddenly gets very ill and their carer cannot cope, or health professionals are unable to access the right advice, they may need extra support.

“The Thames Hospice Advice Line and Rapid Response Service has provided an extra service to people at the end of life in East Berkshire. In doing so, patients and carers have been supported in their place of choice by a specialist palliative care team.

“In addition, the service continues to support health professionals in the community and in hospital with advice.”

If you or someone you know requires support or advice on palliative or end-of-life care, please call the team on 01753 848925. To find out more about Thames Hospice’s services, click here.

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