Specialist staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital have been praised for their work improving care for dying patients.
Staff won a coveted gong at the annual Patient Safety Awards after leaving judges ‘blown away’ with their work over the last six years.
The award came as recognition for their work on a project to transform end of life care for patients and their relatives.
And their boss Gary Doherty, chief executive of the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, thanked staff personally at a celebratory event last week, when staff also held a tombola to raise cash for the Carers’ Trust.
He said: “The results of the project so far are incredibly impressive.
“For example, patient and staff feedback is excellent, more patients can die in their place of choosing, and re-admissions are reduced.
“It is a hugely dedicated team and everyone has risen to the challenge of caring for patients with many complex conditions whilst also looking after their family and carers. They have vastly improved patient care.”
Andrea Whitfield, who is the clinical lead of palliative and end of life care, said it was the hospital’s failure to offer a dying man the chance to die at home in 2009 that prompted change.
She said: “We had no safe way of facilitating it. Now we have an end of life project team consisting of many people within the trust who have a passion for end of life care.
“We have developed this with a focus on training to give our colleagues the confidence and expertise to care for patients.
“Our patients can be assured they will get the best end of life care whether they die in hospital or out of hospital.”
The team has spent the last 18 months training staff on wards throughout the hospital.
Project manager Marion Bennie said: “I’m absolutely elated the team won the award.
“It’s a team that has gelled and everyone is accountable. We are constantly measuring the success of the project using data collected from staff and patients so we can see the benefits we are bringing to the trust.”
A system called Amber Care has been introduced for people whose recovery is uncertain.
It means medics monitor them daily and staff are alerted to their needs.
It also means people get a say in how and where they will spend their final days.
Marion said: “The members of the team are fantastic. They’re completely dedicated and have such deep compassion for their patients.”
Lorraine Tymon, End of Life Educator for the Trust, said: “It’s a privilege to get to know these patients and to help to fulfil their wishes. It’s everybody’s right to have good End of Life .”