Nottinghamshire Hospice

Adding Life to Days

Cash boost for night support service

The Hospice Night Support service launched last year has been so successful there are plans to treble provision, with three teams working each night to meet demand.

In the first six months, the service, which provides short visits to patients with terminal illness in the night, responded to 1,343 call-outs, with the team visiting up to 11 patients a night.

Funding of nearly £1 million pledged from an anonymous donor will see the Night Support Service, originally piloted for one year, fully embed into Nottinghamshire Hospice services and continue for at least the next three years.

Jo Polkey, Director of Care at Nottinghamshire Hospice said: “The Night Support service clearly meets a real need in the community and offers us the ability to see more patients at night. It also offers choice to patients and their families to call for support, have a planned visit or a whole night’s care. It has been hugely successful and our existing team is extremely busy.

“We’re delighted to be able to extend the provision to reach more patients and their carers and we’re extremely grateful for this significant extra funding which will secure this service for years to come.”

The hospice originally recruited four staff to run the pilot scheme, with just one team of two working each night. It is now recruiting at least four more staff to join the new team with further recruitment planned.

“We’re looking for experienced healthcare assistants or support workers who will ideally have extensive experience of working in a community setting,” Jo added.

The night support service featured in a CNN piece in April when a journalist from the global network shadowed the team for a night, visiting several patients including Harry (pictured).

Night support team member Deborah with patient Harry
Night support team member Deborah with patient Harry

One of the first patients to use the service was Alice Toseland, (80), of Bulwell, Nottingham who was given just a few weeks to live when she learnt her kidney cancer had spread. She was keen to get home from hospital. The hospice stepped in to help which meant she was able to be discharged.

Alice lived on her own and the Night Support service took pressure off family members, offering emotional support as well as helping Alice get to the bathroom in the night.

Her daughter Lynda, said: “It was such a relief when the hospice stepped in. They pulled out all the stops. Mum was desperate to get home and it meant she could come home a lot quicker than she would otherwise have done. I’d recommend this service. They are absolutely superb.”

In December, Alice became very poorly again and went into Hayward House, the hospital-based palliative care unit, but was determined to be home for Christmas, so the team once again enabled her to come home, where she spent Christmas with family around her before dying early in 2019.

Lynda at the launch of Hospice Night Support
Lynda at the launch of Hospice Night Support

Lynda said: “The night service helped us all through Christmas and new year. It was important that she was at home surrounded by family. The hospice staff were a constant help not only to my mum but also me, especially at times when I was there on my own at night.

“It’s not nice to watch someone you love struggling to breathe at the end of their life but thanks to the hospice support it was as nice as it could be in an awful situation. Your help and support has been beyond words.”

The service is available seven nights a week, 52 weeks a year from 10pm through to 7.00 am for adults with a terminal illness in greater Nottinghamshire. The team can help with personal care, moving and handling, medication and emotional support for patients and carers. The team works closely with District Nursing teams in the area.

To contact the team and request a visit, telephone 0115 962 1222. 

Click here for vacancies in the new team

Find out more about the Hospice Night Support service here