A partnership between Marie Curie, St John’s Hospice and a local community trust has resulted in increased access to 24/7 end of life care in areas around North Lancashire. 


New care models allow patients to be cared for in their preferred place

This article was part of the End of Life Care channel, in association with Marie Curie Cancer Care. The channel is no longer being updated.

In June 2013 Lancashire North Clinical Commissioning Group launched a care model that has significantly improved end of life care services in the area. The services, comprised of a “hospice at home” service and an out of hours rapid response service, allow patients to access 24/7 care in their preferred residences.

Since the project was launched there has been an increase in patient access to 24/7 care with 233 patients being treated across both services in 2013-14 compared to the previous year when only 100 patients gained access to urgent care.

‘233 patients were treated across both services during 2013-14’

The out of hours rapid response service in particular has supported 161 patients in just over a year, 90 per cent of which were also able to achieve their preferred place of care through the “hospice at home” service.

Out of hours

Marie Curie provides the out of hours rapid response service, which aims to respond to patient calls within 10 minutes and, where appropriate, organise a home visit within one hour.

Before this service was put in place, data suggests that patients needing urgent care were treated largely through emergency admissions. The service has also benefitted from out of office GP and district nursing services as it provides specialist end of life care where these may not.

The combination of daytime care, provided by St John’s Hospice through “hospice at home” service and Marie Curie’s out of hours rapid response service means that patients now have access to a seven day operation, including evenings and early mornings.

‘The rapid response service aims to respond to patient calls within 10 minutes’

Both the rapid response and “hospice at home” service are co-ordinated by St John’s Hospice, offering a more streamlined process where patients and referrers are provided with a single point of access.

This care model continues to improve end of life care throughout the North Lancashire. According to Sue Mcgraw, chief executive of St John’s Hospice, the input and attention paid in the planning stages led to the project’s success.

Before the services were commissioned there was a noticeable lack of capacity in the local community team to support patients at short notice and overnight. Now increasing numbers of patients are able to receive rapid access to care and are also able choose where and when their care is received.

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