NHS Charities Together, via the Heads On Charity, award funds to help provide end of life care for people in their own homes.

Led by neighbouring Martlets hospice, a collaboration of Sussex Hospices successfully applied for a major grant from NHS Charities Together. The £100,000 award was given to the seven adult hospices in Sussex to provide hospice care to patients discharged from hospital. The grant is shared equally between the hospices and will be used to help fund a Clinical Nurse Specialist in each hospice to provide patient care and support when people leave hospital.

All hospices in Sussex have seen an increase in demand for community services during the pandemic. The grant from NHS Charities Together has been made available via the Heads On Charity in Sussex as part of a programme to support NHS and healthcare charities dealing with the impact of COVID-19. Heads On is making the grant on behalf of all Sussex NHS charities as part of the NHSCT Community Partnership grants programme which aims to reduce the stress on the NHS and to support the provision of wrap-around care for individuals and communities where it is vitally needed.

This is the first time the group of Sussex hospices has worked together to apply for a joint grant. They identified that by working together they could have greater impact across the whole of Sussex. The hospices are: Martlets, St Barnabas House, St Catherine’s Hospice, St Michael’s Hospice, St Peter & St James Hospice and St Wilfrid’s Hospice Eastbourne and St Wilfrid’s Hospice Chichester. The hospices are being supported by ‘Heads On’, the charity for the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, who will co-ordinate and distribute the funding from NHS Charities Together.

The members of the Sussex Hospice collaboration provide care for the majority of their patients with life-limiting conditions in their own homes. In 2019/2020 before the impact of COVID-19 Sussex hospices made 52,486 home visits to 7,679 patients across Sussex. During the first 6 months of the pandemic there was an average 22% increase in demand for community services. Hospice care supports families to look after loved ones with terminal illness at home providing expert medical care that includes symptom control and pain relief. The grant will specifically support ‘effective discharge’ from hospitals including preventing unnecessary and distressing re-admissions. Rachael Duke, Head of the Heads On Charity, said:

Evelyn Prodger, Clinical Services Director at St Michael’s Hospice commented, “I am very grateful to NHS Charities Together and to the Heads On Charity for their support with this important funding. This award recognises the work of hospices to support people with end of life illnesses who want to be at home. Working in collaboration with other hospices to bid for this funding is a different approach which demonstrates our commitment to supporting end of life care in our local communities.”

Rachael Duke, Head of the Heads On Charity, said: “We are extremely grateful to NHS Charities Together for their support and funding. We are truly excited to be working with such fantastic organisations, to deliver projects across Sussex that will address health inequalities, suicide prevention and supported hospital discharge. We look forward to seeing the impact of these projects as they begin delivery over the coming months.”

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