People in East Cornwall can now access a new 24-hour specialist nursing service as St Luke’s extends the work of its Crisis Team to help people in and around Looe, Liskeard, Saltash, Callington, Torpoint and Launceston from 15 August 2016.

The innovative pilot initiative from the local hospice charity provides terminally ill patients a 72 hour window of specialist care at home to stabilise symptoms, avoid any unnecessary admission to hospital or facilitate rapid discharge from hospital or hospice back home.

The team will work 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. For example, if they need to quickly return home from hospital and their family needs help to look after them.

George Lillie, Clinical Director of St Luke’s explained, “This is an important pilot project that we envisage will lead to a closer working relationship with Cornwall Hospice and other community providers that will see investment and development of services in end of life care within Cornwall. GPs, district nurses and other healthcare staff can now easily refer their patients to our team and we look forward to providing crucial care to families in times of crisis.”

The service already runs in and around the Plymouth area and has helped get people home who don’t need to be in hospital and supported hundreds of families to respect their loved ones wishes to die at home.

Dawn Tame-Battell, Director of Patient Services for Cornwall Hospice Care said, “We welcome this development and will work closely with St Luke’s. We’re monitoring the pilot project with interest and hope that we could discuss our involvement in the development of similar services across the whole county in the future. All our hospice services continue to operate in Cornwall and patients can still choose to be cared for by us if they wish.”

St Luke’s is a charity organisationand receives no funding for crisis interventions, relying instead on the generosity of the community to be able to offer this kind of vital support. In 2015, the hospice needed to raise an additional £4 million to supplement the money it receives from the NHS to provide its services, including admissions to its specialist unit and end of life care at Derriford Hospital, for people in the East Cornwall area.