Care for people at the end of their lives is moving into a new era as St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth, Livewell Southwest and Marie Curie unite in partnership in piloting a new model for co-ordinating and delivering care to people living within Plymouth and West Devon.

Under this new partnership arrangement, existing services run by the different organisations will be brought together. This will mean anyone needing end of life care, and their families will now have one central point of contact to coordinate their care.

As a patient’s condition changes, this new pilot will provide a seamless transition between all three care providers ensuring the best care possible to patients and their families, at a time when they are at their most vulnerable.

Under this new partnership a team of nurses and admin staff from the three organisations will be based at the St Luke’s site in Crownhill.

George Lillie, Clinical Director and Deputy CEO at St Luke’s explained, “This is a huge step forward for care in our area and, for us, part of the ambitious plans the Government has to ensure end of life care is co-ordinated and partnership working is maximised as a way to meet the increasing demands of delivering care within local communities.”

“When someone is at end of life it can be a very anxious and worrying time for both the patient and their family. This pilot will remove the frustration and time involved for a patient having to speak to multiple care providers and ensure the care package is accommodated quickly. Working as one, will mean all three providers will have shared knowledge of the patient and be able to react as soon as the patient is referred to them for care.”

Michelle Thomas, Director of Operations from Livewell Southwest said, “Developing coordinated ways of working with key partners and stakeholders that puts people at the centre of their care and support is a priority for Livewell Southwest. This is a really exciting initiative and one we are delighted to be a part of. The new partnership working will ensure that people and their families receive the very best care and support possible at a time when they really need it.”

Karen Burfitt, Regional Manager from Marie Curie said, “This partnership will help hugely in simplifying how patients and their families get the care and support they need. It will help to ease some of the strain a family will experience when a loved one is terminally ill, and allow them to make the most of the time they have together.”

The pilot will be evaluated later this summer. If it has been proven to be successful, the partners will make recommendations to the commissioners to make this a permanent arrangement where the full-scale management of all end of life care services locally is transferred to shared control. This will be done on a not-for-profit basis as part of the partnership’s joint commitment to the Government’s “Ambitions for Palliative and End of Life Care” framework for improving end of life care.

Access to the service will be facilitated via GP or healthcare professional referral.

Hundreds of glowing jars are set to light up Plymouth Sound in April, as part of St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth’s beautiful Memory Jar display.

The much loved local charity is giving those that have lost someone, the opportunity to own a glass memory jar and write their own handwritten message to a loved one, to go inside. The memory jar will then join hundreds of others to create an enchanting display of shared memories, bringing members of the community together in remembrance.

From 9 April for three weeks, the display will be on show for everyone to view in the garden on Plymouth Hoe, next to Valenti’s café. By day this beautiful garden will give the local community the chance to admire these memories and pay their respects to those no longer with us. By night the jars will illuminate with their individual solar lights to shine brightly over Plymouth Sound.

Events fundraiser at St Luke’s Rebecca Kelly, said “Our Memory Jar appeal is open to all, not just people cared for by St Luke’s. It gives you the opportunity to remember your loved ones in a special and unique way. We understand how important it is to be able to remember your loved ones; memories are precious and are what keep us in touch. We would encourage supporters to collect their memory jar at the end of the display, keep it somewhere special and add memories along the way for years to come; creating a special tribute and something to cherish forever.”

All donations received for each jar will go towards the £4 million the charity needs to raise every year, caring for over 3400 patients and their families in the local community; at home, at hospital and at their specialist unit at Turnchapel.

The display officially opens on Sunday 9 April with a special remembrance launch event at 3pm, featuring a selection of readings and poems.

For more information visit: www.stlukes-hospice.org.uk/memoryjar