Major listening campaign at St Barnabas Lincolnshire Hospice

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East Lindsey is to be given its biggest ever say in how the growing number of people living with life-limiting illnesses will be cared for in the future

St Barnabas Lincolnshire Hospice has unveiled plans to launch a major listening campaign across the district so its 140,000 residents have an opportunity to share in, and shape, a new and ground-breaking approach to end-of-life care.

The community’s feedback will play a key role in the charity’s delivery of an action plan that will also act as a trailblazer for taking forward palliative care services across the whole of Lincolnshire.

St Barnabas is the principal provider of end-of-life care across East Lindsey and has run Louth Hospice on Grimsby Road since it first opened its doors to clients more than two years ago. It is one of the Mayor of Louth’s three chosen charities for the year.

Its Chief Executive, Chris Wheway, said: “This initiative heralds the start of an exciting new era for East Lindsey. We want its community to join us at the very beginning of our journey to invest, improve and innovate in an unprecedented way.

“Drawing upon the skills of our staff - including our specialist team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals – as well as our army of volunteers, we are determined to break new ground in the way we provide services.

“This will enable us to stay at the forefront of best clinical practice in meeting the wishes of our patients and their families, amid an ever-increasing need.

“With its fast-growing and ageing population, this is particularly the case in East Lindsey. Here, we are rising to this immense challenge by developing an ambitious plan designed to accelerate the improvements that local people tell us they wish to see.”

This will include building on the development of services for those with non-cancer conditions, including the frail, elderly and the increasing number of people living with dementia; and St Barnabas turning its Louth Hospice base into a community hub where local groups can meet – all part of a wider plan help break down the barriers of social isolation and improve well-being.

It is also keen to explore people’s views on the potential role of new and assistive technology to enhance their care, as well as sound them out about its idea for creating a “Hospice in a Care Home” service. This is in response to research which reveals that East Lindsey has three times the number of people living in care homes – one of the highest ratios in the UK.

In addition to engaging with local people at events that will be staged in the heart of the community, St Barnabas aims to work with a range of partners, such as East Lindsey District Council, the local NHS, and charities such as Marie Curie and Dementia Action Alliance, to finalise the way forward.

Councillor Craig Leyland, Leader of East Lindsey District Council, said the initiative would pool the expertise of all the key providers of health and social care.

He said: “I am delighted that the community will be at the forefront of this forward thinking, adding a unique and very personalised dimension to the way we develop our plans.

“All the partners involved share a strong track record for innovation and joint working, creating the ideal platform on which to progress this new work.”

Chairman of St Barnabas Hospice, Robert Neilans, said: “As well as a caring organisation, we are also a listening one.

“This is all about hearing and capturing the community’s views first-hand, so we understand better what it is that would make a real and positive difference to people’s lives. It is not about what we think they may want or need.

“And we know from what people have told us already that it can also sometimes be the simple things in life – like a pub lunch – that can make a huge impact.”

He added: “It will ensure that all the initiatives we adopt complement each other, and make every Pound of support we receive go as far as possible by not duplicating or wasting these precious resources.”

St Barnabas will be staging its own dedicated listening events, as well as linking into other community meetings arranged by its partners, such as the council, that would lend themselves to the exercise.

The first events are planned for early in the New Year and details of dates, times and venues will be shared soon. Residents who cannot attend will be able to share their experiences and put forward their ideas in a series of other options made available.