New funding has been secured for a new nurse tasked with supporting patients nearing the end of their life to be discharged from hospital.

The decision to award funding for a position in south east London has been described as "absolutely fantastic" and the role will provide meaningful support to local patients and their families at their time of need.

The new palliative care discharge nurse will be based at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, and is the result of a successful funding bid by Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Charity.

Employed and is managed by Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice, who are the local charity in partnership with the trust in providing patient-centred hospital end-of-life care.

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Kate Heaps, Chief Executive at Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice said: “When someone who is approaching the end of their life is admitted to hospital, it often signifies a change in their condition that will require additional support when they return home.

"The patient and their family are often facing significant change and uncertainty and I’m so grateful that the charity have agreed to fund the work of a dedicated discharge nurse so that we can make sure we do all we can to make that transition to home as safe and comfortable as possible.” 

The discharge nurse will work closely with patients and their families to ensure their care needs are met, and also connecting them to community services available to them.

A major part of the role will be to support the patient to be cared for in their own home where possible, reducing the chance of them being readmitted to hospital.

This in turn will improve their quality of life and better use the time and resources of care staff working in south east London.

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Home is where the majority of terminally ill people choose to be at the end of their life, and the pandemic has further highlighted the importance of giving patients the option to be comfortable at home, surrounded by loved ones whenever possible.

The work the nurse does will complement that of the hospice’s doctors and clinical nurse specialists that make up the rest of the hospital palliative care team.

Angela Helleur, Chief Nurse/Chief Operating Officer at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust said: “Providing a high-quality palliative care service that considers the individual needs and wishes of our end of life patients is so important to us. It is absolutely fantastic that funding has been secured for a discharge nurse who will provide such meaningful support to so many local patients and families.”

Margarita Vidiella, Head of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Charity said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to NHS Charities Together and also to the members of the public whose generous donations have made it possible for us to create this new post.

"We know it will have such a valuable impact on our community and I’m really looking forward to continuing our partnership working with Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice.”

The recruitment and selection process for the position has begun and the nurse will be in post in due course.