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Your Lifeline: A carer’s story

31 January 2019

“I can’t praise Your Lifeline highly enough. Every single person I spoke from Your Lifeline were consistently helpful, sympathetic, and empathetic.

“It was knowing that there would always be someone I could ring at 3am and get the support I needed. I would definitely recommend the service to anyone.”  

Pat Smith (not her real name) is one of many people in Hillingdon who have been praising a service that supports people in Hillingdon during their last months of life.

Your Lifeline has helped more than 100 to die peacefully in their preferred place since its launch in November last year – including 52 in their own home.

It is a combined 24-hour nursing service and care coordination hub as well as a night visiting service  offering patients and their families someone to speak to, who understands their needs, 24 hours a day, and the support to spend their final moments in their preferred place.

The team discuss care over the telephone and arrange home visits to support, where needed.

Pat’s mother, Sue (not her real name), was referred to the service in October last year after she was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer 14 months ago.

The cancer was discovered during a routine x-ray for a chest infection.

For several months Sue was able to live at home with Pat until her pelvis shattered, requiring hospitalisation and hospice care. However, Pat decided she and her sister would be best placed to provide the care at home.

As her mother’s condition worsened, she was referred to Your Lifeline by her mother’s cardiac nurse.

It was a Godsend. “I’ll give you an example. Mum was really poorly one weekend, though I didn’t think bad enough for an ambulance. I rang Your Lifeline, explained what the problem was and the person I spoke with said they would get the on-call doctor to call. The doctor rang within two hours and decided a home visit was required that day, which he did. I found them especially helpful from a carer’s point of view. It was my lifeline.”

Barbara van Brummen, Team Leader Hillingdon Community Specialist Palliative Care Team, said: “It’s important that people are treated with choice, dignity and respect in their final few months and we do this by supporting patients and families to be where they want to be at the end of life. This means they will feel as comfortable and as peaceful as possible at a stressful period.

“The feedback we’ve had from people in Hillingdon shows that our service has been much appreciated and we’ve been pleased to provide it.”

As well as providing better quality of care for its patients, YLL 24/7 contributes to the health system in Hillingdon by reducing pressure on emergency services, A&E and hospital wards.