Our New Chapter
In January we will launch our new innovative Frailty Service. This will mean more people benefit from our care and live a better life.
We know that thousands of people in North Hertfordshire and Stevenage could, but don't, receive our care. Many of those are living with frailty, a condition widely believed to be the major public health challenge of the 21st Century - and not just in Letchworth, or Hitchin, or Stevenage, not even in the UK - but globally.
It's time we changed this. So on 2nd January, following months of careful planning, we are launching an innovative new frailty service. It is a first for hospices.
The modern hospice movement arose in the 1960s to serve an unmet need. This is a new, unmet need - so we need to evolve and do the same again. This is Our New Chapter at Garden House Hospice Care.
Carol's parents both needed support for the last few years of their lives. Her dad, Bryan, who had cancer, was referred to Garden House Hospice Care within a few weeks of being diagnosed. Her mum, Ann, who had frailty, was referred a day after she died.
In this raw and honest video, Carol describes the illness her mum lived with and why, years on, she's still struggling to cope with what her mum went through.
What is frailty?
Frailty is a term you may associate with being elderly and delicate. It actually means when you’re living with multiple health conditions, such as diabetes, heart failure, asthma, dementia. The more frail you are, the more difficult simple things like shopping or getting dressed become. You probably know, or have known, someone who this sounds like.
When someone has frailty, their health gradually declines. People are turning up to their GPs or A&E with symptoms linked to their increasing frailty. They may be experiencing breathlessness, pain, fatigue. They may be falling more often.
We were given access to patient notes (with their personal details removed) of:
local people with kidney failure, each contributing to their frailty
days collectively spent in hospital from August 2022 - August 2023
116 A&E admissions
132 emergency admissions
12% for urinary infections
3.5 beds every day were taken by a combination of these 50 patients.
It's bad for patients too. Common conditions such as colds and flu can turn into a crisis and require a hospital stay. Typically they will have worse outcomes due to the length of their stay, losing their motivation, confidence and their voice in planning their future care.
Our innovative and unique frailty service has been crafted with input from staff and external partners. It has the potential to revolutionise care for people with frailty.
Our plan is to use our expertise in symptom control and meet people with frailty earlier so they can live well at home. Our service will keep them out of hospital (saving the NHS money) and give people an alternative lifeline when symptoms flair up. Then one day, if they need it, they will have access to our palliative care services.
To do this, we will:
1. Identify people suitable for our care, earlier.
A dedicated nurse will visit A&E every day to identify patients we can support and move them into the Hospice or the community.
2. Expand our community services.
Our clinicians such as physiotherapists and occupational therapists will start to deliver their services directly into people's homes, helping to prevent hospital admissions.
3. Open additional beds.
These will be for people with frailty, to support them with symptoms and get them back home again.
4. Expand our Compassionate Neighbours team.
This will support in developing more of our popular and lively social hubs. These are a crucial way of finding more people who would benefit from our services.
5. Provide 'ambulatory care'.
This means, for example, the administration of IV antibiotics or blood transfusions. People can come to us instead of hospital, have the treatment (and a biscuit) and go home.
How you can help
To launch our Frailty Service on 2nd January 2024 and run the service until the end of March 2024, it will cost us £300,000. This money will allow us to:
- Grow our workforce to staff our services at the Hospice and in the community - nurses, doctors, health care assistants and our allied health professional roles
- Invest in more staff with specialist palliative care expertise, such as renal or heart failure and recruit a nurse who will link with the hospitals
- Expand our Compassionate Neighbours hubs
- Purchase new equipment to deliver the treatments required
Every pound you can give will be used to kick start a service that will mean people receive better care, admissions to hospital are reduced and more people can benefit from our range of expert services, earlier.
Please donate today and in recognition:
- Your name will be written on an installation within the Hospice, listing every individual, organisation or club who has played a part in helping us launch our Frailty Service
- Receive a bespoke ‘Our New Chapter’ pin badge as a keep sake
- You will be kept updated on the launch and major developments of the new service
OR donate via The Big Give between Tuesday 28th November and Tuesday 5th December and your donation will be match-funded.
£19 could cover a nurse being in A&E for an hour, identifying people who this service can help
£40 could go towards the cost of the items needed for our ambulatory care service, such as monitoring equipment and comfortable furniture
£61 could pay for a physiotherapy session, focused on keeping someone independent for as long as possible
Founders of the Frailty Service
Any individual or company who is interested in gifting over £5,000 will become a 'Founder of the Frailty Service'. Founders will receive public recognition for their instrumental role in the launch, be listed below and receive bespoke communication detailing the service and its development as well as invitations to exclusive events.
Our story spans four decades and we have cared for and supported thousands of people in our community. But we can do more. It’s time for Our New Chapter, but to begin, we need you.