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Here at St Luke’s one of our key aims is to educate and empower our community to encourage everyone to play a part in providing quality end of life care. Our education team have proven that they are doing just that.

In a recent audit of the Six Steps Care Homes, it is clear that all our End of Life Champions have been working hard to maintain the End of Life Quality Markers. The following statistics show the improvements made in the quality of end of life care for patients that have died in a care home within a six month period between September 2016 – February 2017.

  • 100% had a Treatment Escalation plan in place
  • 80% had their preferred place of death met
  • 72% had an Advance Care Plan conversation recorded
  • 78% had Anticipatory Drugs in place

The audit also showed that care home staff are accessing services like GPs and specialist nurses less as they feel more skilled to manage end of life care.

When compared with the previous audit, which covered years one to three of the programme, the figures showed an increase across the end of life standards achieved for patients in the care homes.

Education and development manager Paula Hine said, “This has been really encouraging for all of us, it shows that our End of Life Care Champions are feeling more confident and empowered in their role within an end of life setting. The training and workshops that we run provide our champions and care home staff with the skills, knowledge and resources that they need in order to facilitate and care for someone who is approaching end of life and these figures show that they are achieving that.”

In addition the team run the End of Life Champions forum in which so far 121 End of Life Champions have attended. The session provides a forum where champions can ask questions and receive professional updates from guest speakers.

Head of education Gail Wilson was delighted at the audit findings which demonstrated even those homes that have been registered with the Six Steps programme for the last four to five years are maintaining their quality markers for end of life care. She said, “We can be proud of our Six Steps care homes, to meet these quality markers in such challenging times shows real commitment to the programme and the residents they care for.”

The St Luke’s Six Steps + programme is a series of workshops developed by the education team, designed to provide care homes and agencies with a toolkit to provide quality end of life care that meets CQC end of life essential standards. The course also provides staff with an ongoing commitment as an End of Life Care Champion, enabling them to share knowledge and skills to peers and colleagues. Along with the Six Steps + programme our education team have been running free training sessions in End of Life Care, providing care home and domiciliary care agency staff with an overview of end of life care tools and care in the last days of life. The next training session is on Wednesday 13 September between 2pm and 4pm at Turnchapel. For more information visit the courses page.

Crisis Team

It has been a year since the St Luke’s crisis team expanded their services out into East Cornwall and things are looking hopeful for the future of the pilot project.

The pilot initiative which was launched in August last year, saw us expand our care for terminally ill patients who need a 72 hour window of specialist help at home to stabilise symptoms, avoid any unnecessary admission to hospital or facilitate rapid discharge from hospital or our specialist unit.

The team has been working in close partnership with other community health and social care providers in East Cornwall to enhance end of life care services and offer solutions to crisis situations where a patient does not have care arrangements in place.

Crisis Team lead nurse, Sharon Smerdon said, “In the last year we have had a steady referral rate from East Cornwall and some very appropriate referrals to facilitate discharges from Derriford. Since June we have followed up discharges from the specialist unit and in August have started to follow up on those discharged from Derriford – this includes all patients known by the St Luke’s team in both the Western locality of NEW Devon and those in East Cornwall. We are still working with commissioners over funding for the continuation of the project and remain hopeful of this for the future.”

Since the expansion of our services last year our crisis team have also launched a Patient Centred Leadership project in East Cornwall, to encourage communities to come together in care by exploring new creative ways of building up a solid network of care for the patient. This involved developing a steering group, holding a two day programme for the nurses of the crisis team and three community nurses from Cornwall and developing processes and paperwork to assist with identifying patients and carer networks and enabling them to deliver end of life care themselves.

Angus Black

Angus Black

Singing, acting and fundraising – it all comes naturally to one of our junior fundraisers.

Unlike most eleven-year-olds, Angus Black from Gunnislake has spent his weekends busy fundraising for St Luke’s at our Open Gardens.

If you have attended one of our Open Gardens this year you may have spotted Angus lending a helping hand by helping his granny sell St Luke’s merchandise and plants and even entertaining garden visitors with his singing.

Angus was inspired to help out after following in the footsteps of his granny and one of our community fundraising ambassadors, Sue Crocker. Sue’s husband Richard spent his final days being cared for in our specialist unit 10 years ago.

Angus’ mum Annaliese Plowright said, “He has always been a compassionate young man, but he just gets so much enjoyment out of helping. He never knew Richard, so this is a way that he can feel connected to him and feel that he is doing something in his memory as well as for all the people who are currently using St Luke’s services. He has had a tour of the specialist unit and seen the work that St Luke’s does, so he knows exactly how the money he raises can help people.”

So far Angus’ impressive fundraising has raised £710 for patient care. Angus was thanked personally by St Luke’s CEO Steve Statham when he visited our specialist unit at Turnchapel last month.

His amazing dedication and support to St Luke’s over the Open Gardens season will come to an end in September as our season closes but Angus has said his fundraising will not stop then. However he will have to fit it in around his busy schedule, as he is also currently acting in the new series of ITV’s Doc Martin. But he says he would be delighted to continue to help raise as much as he can to help us to deliver our care to those in need.

St Luke’s community fundraiser Wayne Marshall said, “Angus has been such a star at our Open Gardens, sitting beside his granny and helping her to sell all our St Luke’s merchandise, as well as providing visitors with plenty of entertainment! It is fantastic that someone of his age has taken such a proactive role in helping St Luke’s. We hope that many more children will be inspired by Angus and want to fundraise for St Luke’s as well, whether they are a similar age or if someone in their family may have used our service before, like in Angus’ case it could become a way of connecting with loved ones lost. They could ultimately become a representative for St Luke’s in their school or local community and we would provide them with plenty of fundraising support along the way.”

St Luke’s Open Gardens are sponsored by McClure Solicitors.

After 50 weeks rollover, we have our record breaking £10,000 jackpot lottery winner!

Congratulations to 86 year old Jean Higginson from Estover.

Here’s the moment nurse Teresa went to hand over the big cheque.

Thank you to everyone who supports our weekly lottery. Since 1994 you have helped raise over £10 million for patient care. That’s enough to care for an incredible 10,000 patients at home.

Could you be our next big winner? Our lottery is now available to play online from £1 per week.

We are giving away a guaranteed £10,000 this week (Friday 4 August 2017) in our weekly lottery draw.

You have until 5pm on Thursday 3 August to be entered for this weeks jackpot. Instant play is available online now from £1 a week. The big cash prize is the result of our weekly rollover having not been won for a record breaking 50 weeks. Gambling regulations cap the rollover at £10,000 meaning the money must be won by this Friday, 4 August 2017.

Play online here from £1

Our lottery is also celebrating a milestone, having raised £10 million for patient care since the lottery first began 23 years ago.

In raising £10,006,140 since 1994 , our lottery alone has generated enough profit to enable our St Luke’s nurses, social workers and therapists deliver care for the equivalent of 10,000 patients who are living with life-limiting illnesses at home.

St Luke’s lottery manager Lesley Coulton, said, “The lottery relies completely on the good will and commitment of all those ‘silent heroes’ who over the years have supported St Luke’s by giving just £1 per week. It is thanks to all of you that our lottery is where it is today, providing vital funds for patient care. Our aim is to reach 14,000 players by August, the more people playing our lottery, the more patients we can care for, at home, in hospital and at our specialist unit at Turnchapel. Each year our lottery raises £430,000 for patient care, this makes it possible for us to provide care for terminally ill patients and their families that need our care and support.”

Every year the St Luke’s lottery gives out 1,664 cash prizes to the lucky winners, with players in with a chance of winning prizes of £1,000, £200 or £10 every week. What’s even better is that if you play the St Luke’s lottery for a year, you have a one in eight chance of winning a prize as opposed to the National Lottery where the odds are one in 54!

Instant play available here, from £1. Over 18’s only.

Jackie Gale Fun on the Hoe

Jackie Gale Fun on the Hoe

A work of art is set to brighten the walls of our specialist unit, thanks to a kind donation from a local artist and former nurse.

Jackie Gale, a former intensive care unit nurse at Derriford, created the beautiful work of art, which features last year’s St Luke’s forget-me-not flower remembrance display on Plymouth Hoe.

The original masterpiece, which is aptly titled ‘Fun on the Hoe’, took two weeks to produce and is made up of mixed textiles including hessian, sail cloth, velvet and canvas. As well as the forget-me-not flower remembrance display, it features Smeaton’s Tower, plenty of boats out on the water, an RAF Rescue helicopter and not forgetting the all important ice cream van!

Jackie has kindly donated a limited edition print of the artwork for display at our specialist unit, in a canvas frame that has been donated by Artframe Solution of Plymouth. The limited edition print, which is one of 50 being produced, will be installed outside our single rooms, Citadel, Smeaton and Drake to brighten up the hallway.

Jackie, who created the piece of art from her studio in Ermington, said, “St Luke’s specialist unit up at Turnchapel is in such a beautiful setting overlooking the Hoe, it seemed a natural place to showcase this colourful and fun piece of art. As a former nurse myself, I understand the brilliant care St Luke’s provides to the people in our community and just how cheerful and bright the unit is for patients and visitors. It’s my contribution to help raise a bit of money and bring a smile to all who visit.”

Jackie’s special edition prints are available from www.jackiegaletextileart.com. With each purchase, 20% of the cost will be donated to St Luke’s.