The Hospice of St Francis has appointed a dedicated nurse to help care homes across its catchment area to deliver excellent end of life care to residents with dementia.
Janet Willoughby, who has 37 years’ nursing experience, eight of them as an educator in end of life care at the Hospice, took up her post, funded by the Hospice UK St James’s Place Foundation grant programme in mid-March.
As well as delivering end-of-life care education programmes to dementia care specialists, Janet, who has extensive experience working with older people with complex illnesses, will share her learnings and knowledge with The Hospice of St Francis clinical team, enabling it, in turn, to provide better care in its Inpatient Unit for patients with dementia.
With the number of people with dementia steadily increasing globally, the new post is part of The Hospice of St Francis’ wider dementia strategy to better understand dementia and, by sharing its specialist knowledge around end of life care, help its colleagues in care homes and mental health caring for people diagnosed with the condition.
“We know that as our population ages and lives longer, the number of people with a loss of memory function will increase, which will present challenges for the clinicians who treat them,” said Clare Hearnshaw, Director of Clinical Care at The Hospice of St Francis.
“This is about pooling our skills and knowledge and learning from each other. It can be hard to recognise when people with dementia are dying, and caring for people with advanced dementia at the end of their lives is not always straightforward, especially as they often also have highly complex care needs.
“Caring for the loved ones of people with dementia also requires exceptional skill and compassion as families experience the continual, gradual loss of the person they know and love.”
Steve Jamieson, Hospice CEO, added: “We want to be sure that as we look to the future, our Hospice is well informed and able to offer comprehensive end of life care and support for patients facing life-limiting illnesses as well as dementia.
“Janet, as our new Dementia nurse, has a proven track record of working with dementia patients through her work in care homes and we’re excited to have her on board in this new role.”
Janet was part of the team responsible for the award-winning NHS Health Education East of England ABC education programme, proven to be the best of its kind at delivering end of life education to staff in nursing homes and reducing unnecessary hospital admissions.