Weldmar at Home Appeal – Why we need this service in Dorset
An open letter to you from our Director of Nursing
My name is Caroline Sweetland and I am very proud to be the Director of Nursing for Weldmar Hospicecare. Covid-19 has thrown many challenges at our charity, from financial to clinical and we have adapted where necessary to ensure that our patients continue to receive the best possible care and support. 83% of our work is provided in the community including in patients’ own homes and the demand for this has significantly increased since March last year. But right now, we need to do more.
Last year alone we saw a 64% increase in the amount of support that patients in the community required from Weldmar Hospicecare. We recruited more staff and provided additional resources to meet this unprecedented demand and supported our patients’ wishes to stay at home as much as possible. However, Weldmar, albeit vital in the overall care provided, is just one of many care providers supporting patients to stay at home.
We know that last year alone 46% of our patients wanted to be cared for in the comfort of their own home in their last weeks and days – an 11 % increase in just 12 months. To meet these wishes, patients often require individualised care throughout the day and night. We currently are simply not able to be with each patient who requires 24 hour care at home and sadly, there are very few other health care organisations who are now able to provide a reliable and consistent service available at short notice.
When patients are living with a terminal diagnosis, they need the reassurance that no matter where or how they want to receive care and support, it will be available. Patients often require rapid specialist assessments and appropriate care packages being implemented within hours. For some patients this has been taking days, or even weeks. The Covid-19 pandemic has made this even worse. Many of our patients don’t have the time to wait for a full package of care to be in place. In the meantime, if their health deteriorates rapidly, they are taken to A&E which is often where, sadly, they die. This can simply be avoided with the appropriate and necessary care package put in place quickly.
Weldmar Hospicecare is a reliable and respected care provider throughout the county and our patients feel comfortable and safe within our hands. We need to step up and help.
Everything that we do at Weldmar Hospicecare is built around our patients. Over the last 27 years we have adapted our services, grown as an organisation and delivered even more bespoke and tailored care than ever before. We believe that every patient deserves to be treated with dignity, compassion and respect, no matter where they wish to spend their last days. With your help, we can make this possible.
We can ensure that every patient known to Weldmar who wants to be cared for at home receives the level of care that they deserve, provided by a charity that they already trust, respect and feel comfortable with.
We are asking for your support to introduce Weldmar at Home. This new but much needed service will allow us to support patients who are deteriorating at the end of their life but wish to remain at home. Working in partnership with our Weldmar Community Nurses, our Weldmar at Home team will ensure that care is available in the home 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year to provide hands on nursing care and support to patients, regardless of diagnosis, who wish to be in their own home for the final days of their life.
We will be able to support an increased rapid discharge of patients transitioning from hospital or our Inpatient Unit who want to be cared for in the comfort of their own home. We will be able to provide the patient’s family with increased respite, practical and emotional support and most importantly, maximise the overall quality of life for patients and their loved ones by addressing both clinical and holistic needs meeting the patient’s wishes.
Angie has so very kindly agreed to share her story with you for which we are extremely grateful. Being able to access Weldmar at Home would have made a great difference to Angie and her late husband Geoff. Angie’s story explains why we need to do more – right now.
Weldmar at Home will ensure that 100% of our patients who receive care from our dedicated team have an individualised, person centred care plan delivered with compassion, dignity and respect based on patient choice. With your support, we can ensure that every single patient has access to 24 hour care whether at our Inpatient Unit or in the comfort of their own home.
Right now, we have hundreds of patients who are currently being cared for by Weldmar Hospicecare. Without the introduction of Weldmar at Home sadly many of these will not be able to receive 24 hour care at home, where nearly 50% of our patients want to be.
The Weldmar Hospicecare team, across the whole of Dorset, are continuing to work incredibly hard to give every patient that we support that much needed tailored care, just like we have done throughout the pandemic and over the last 27 years. But with our charity shops closed again and a full year with no fundraising events we are once again relying on our loyal supporters to help us give our patients the extended care that they deserve at the end of their life.
After all, our patients are local people, like you and me, like our own loved ones. And you play a key part of our extended family. So I hope you feel able to come together once again to support our local community and our end of life care charity in Dorset.