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Rising demand for hospice care prompts need for more nurses

Posted on 8 April 2013

At a time when NHS and other healthcare providers are being expected to work with reduced budgets, east Kent charity Pilgrims Hospices has announced it will be recruiting additional palliative care nurses.

The workforce hike across its three hospices in Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet is expected to cost an additional £500,000 a year. The move follows a 14 per cent increase in workload for Pilgrims, which offers care and support free of charge to patients with life limiting illnesses and their families in east Kent. In the past year alone, Pilgrims Hospices has cared for more than 2,300 patients.

Director of Nursing Paula Evans said: “Patients and families tell us they value our nurses for the expert care and compassion they give. We want to be able to continue to give every patient individualised care, tailored to meet their needs and wishes.

“We have so many more people to look after, it is only right we do our utmost to ensure the amount of direct patient to nurse contact time remains high, particularly from well trained, professional nurses.

“We want to make sure our nurses are where they are needed most and where they most want to be – at the bedside, or caring for patients in their own homes and care homes.”

The 2013 plan will mean an extra staff nurse for every early and late shift seven days per week, an additional sister on each site, whose role will include developing nursing practice, and an additional palliative specialist nurse for each site.

Pilgrims Hospices Chief Executive Steve Auty said: “We have a long standing reputation for clinical excellence. As we care for an increasing number of patients, some with greater dependency than in the past, we must ensure patients receive the very best care possible.

“Of course, employing extra staff comes at a price and that is why we are launching a new fundraising scheme called Sponsor A Nurse, encouraging local people and businesses to offer their support.

“It costs £20 an hour to cover all the costs of ensuring a Pilgrims nurse can provide care where it’s needed – on the ward, in the day hospices, in a patient’s own home, in care homes or at a community outreach group.  We are asking people to get involved and pledge that amount or more.

“The communities of east Kent are already very generous to the charity every year to help meet our costs and we are always thankful for their support.”

Individuals and businesses can pay for one hour, one day, one week or even one month by making either a one-off donation or setting up a standing order to make regular contributions.

It already costs £10 million a year to provide all of the charity’s services across east Kent and much of that money is generously donated by the communities it serves. Only 25 per cent of its funding comes from the Government – and that figure is reviewed each year.

You can download the Sponsor A Nurse leaflet which has full details how to donate, here.


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