Life & Time launches new Initiative During Pallative Care Week

Thursday 22 September 2022 12:08

Life & Time Care - the South Down charity delivering end of life care at home* - is launching a new pilot initiative in collaboration with the Southern Area Hospice Services, to provide family support services before and after a bereavement.

The Charity, Life & Time Care, was launched in 2018 to offer support and prompt symptom control to patients and families caring for a loved one who wish to die at home. The charity - operating across Warrenpoint, Burren, Rostrevor (WBR) and Rathfriland, Hilltown & Mayobridge (RHM) - provides an on call service between the hours of 10pm to 8am.

As part of Palliative Care Week (13-19 Sept), Life & Time have launched a new pilot programme in collaboration with the Southern Area Hospice Service (SAHS), funded by LFT Charitable Trust. The pilot will be the subject of a new research project by Ulster University.

The new programme will see Life & Time offer support and guidance to families both before and after the death of a loved one, using specialist staff from Southern Area Hospice. This new Service will be operational this autumn, initially piloting in the Rostrevor Warrenpoint & Burren area.

Founder of Life & Time, Doctor Henry McLaughlin explains: “The framework for Life & Time was to offer families and terminally ill patients the same support and symptom control at home, as would be available to them in a hospital or hospice setting. The name Life & Time encapsulates our aims, offering dignity in end of life care at home and giving time to the family - this new service extends these core aims.

“Life & Time have an amazing team of nurses, whom I know feel privileged to provide support to terminally ill patients in their own home. Our nurses offer advice and assistance to the family which goes beyond physical nursing care. This new service will further enhance this. We are delighted to be working with the Southern Area Hospice, who will provide the specialist staff. They will offer up to 6 support visits to a family both before and after bereavement, to provide emotional support and signposting as appropriate,” Doctor McLaughlin explains.

First launched in 2018, to date the charity has supported close to 100 local families, working in collaboration with GPs, District Nurses, Marie Curie, SAHS and other providers. They deliver their night time on-call service through a network of 37 end-of-life care nurses, who live in the community that they care for.

The new service has been made possible through grant funding by LFT Charitable Trust and will be evaluated by researchers with Ulster University.

One of the Life & Time Directors, Martin McGinn is a lecturer with Ulster University and made the introduction to researchers as potentially interesting project.

“I believe there is huge potential with this pilot to inform future development of services for end of life care and we are very grateful to our funders LFT Charitable Trust who have enabled this pilot. I’m delighted that colleagues at the Ulster University (UU) considered this a valuable programme to partner with us academically and I’d like thank them for their support.

“Initially this is a one year pilot, after which UU researchers will examine and review the impact of the scheme. It is my hope that their academic research will inform further roll out of the scheme across the Life & Time service area,” Martin adds.

The project has been made possible with the support of SAHS. Director of Care Bridget Smyth said it is an exciting project to be involved in.

“When it was first proposed, we could see the importance of the pilot and we felt it was an exciting partnership and programme – which we are delighted to support. The research element will give everyone involved in end of life care some very valuable information to help inform future service provision and we look forward to seeing it develop as Life & Time roll out the pilot across Rostrevor, Burren and Warrenpoint.”

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