Health chiefs reveal opening schedule for replacing end-of-life care after St Clare's Hospice closure

Plans for new end-of-life care services in South Tyneside are moving forward despite the pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic, NHS chiefs will hear next week.
The former St Clare's Hospice in Jarrow.The former St Clare's Hospice in Jarrow.
The former St Clare's Hospice in Jarrow.

The Governing Body of NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will be given an update on improvements already made to community-based services, as well as an increase in planned ‘home-from-home’ bedrooms, at its meeting on Thursday, July 29.

A new report outlines the work carried out since NHS leaders approved a £1.5million annual investment into palliative care in September 2020.

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Campaigners had previously fought for services to return to the hospice site at Primrose Hill with tens of thousands of signatures collected.

However, CCG bosses agreed to a ‘hub and spoke’ model with a greater emphasis on home and community care and a hospice-style facility at Haven Court, based at the South Tyneside District Hospital site.

At the time, aspects of the plans were criticised by South Tyneside’s MPs and campaigners, with some saying the number of home-from-home beds proposed would not meet demand.

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According to a report prepared for CCG bosses next week, the number of specialist bedrooms at Haven Court for end-of-life care will be increased from four to six following public feedback.

NHS chiefs expect the bedrooms will be available to care for patients within Haven Court from December 2021.

Matt Brown, executive director of operations at South Tyneside CCG, said: “Everyone deserves a high standard of care and choice at the end of their life, whatever their needs and preferences.

“Last year we expanded our palliative and home care teams, and they are providing a wonderful and dedicated service caring for people across the borough.

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“We have been working hard to develop the new ‘home-from-home’ service at Haven Court, for people who prefer not to be at home or in hospital at the end of their life, and expect this to be in place by the end of the year.

“Last year we listened to feedback from people who were concerned about the number of bedrooms, and who felt that the service could be better positioned within the Haven Court building.

“I’m pleased that we have been able to increase the number of bedrooms from four to six, and place the new suite on the ground floor, with direct access into a quiet garden space.

“The staff at Haven Court are working so hard to ensure the new service is calm and caring, with the best possible clinical support.

“With homely bedrooms in a calm space close to the hospital, we can offer better care and a better experience for patients and families.”

Haven Court is a building in its own separate area of the South Tyneside Hospital site.

Purpose-built to provide care services, it has a private garden and its own separate car park and entrance.

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Health chiefs say the home-from-home bedrooms will have a dedicated family and carer suite with catering facilities, so loved ones can be close by.

The service will also include physio and occupational therapies, and the CCG is currently working to provide an enhanced level of complementary therapies, counselling and chaplaincy services.

Sarah Sasmazer, matron and manager at Haven Court, added: “We know that this will be a much valued facility for the local community along with our fantastic community palliative care services.

“Our team here at Haven Court believe passionately in providing the highest quality compassionate care to ensure we deliver the best possible experience.

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“We are looking forward to getting this new service up and running in the months ahead.”

The report prepared for health bosses, entitled ‘The best possible care, whatever your preferences: Progress update on improving palliative and end of life care in South Tyneside,’ will be presented at the CCG’s Governing Body on July 29.

The meeting will livestreamed on Facebook and can be accessed here:

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