New hub for training in palliative and end-of-life care to open in Wigan

A new service to extend training in palliative and end-of-life care to all health and social care professionals in Wigan is being launched.

The Wigan Borough Palliative and End-of-Life Care Learning Hub will offer free online and classroom-based learning to health and social care professionals, in a bid to improve care for patients with a life-limiting illness.

The central hub at Wigan and Leigh Hospice will open next week, with additional hubs planned for across the borough in future.

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It will be led by the hospice’s practice development team – formerly known as hospice in your care home – which was awarded recurrent funding earlier this year to expand its education and support service.

Debbie Jones, practice development lead, said: “Our aim at the hospice has always been to support as many people living with a life-limiting illness as possible – even if they are not helped by the hospice directly. Education, training and practical support have proven to be an effective way of improving the care of patients and those important to them.

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“Thanks to additional funding from Healthier Wigan Partnership, the team has been able to expand and it now means that our training and education – which primarily has been offered in nursing and residential homes – will be available free of charge to all health and social care professionals across the borough.

“The pandemic has been an extremely challenging time, with some health and social care professionals having little or no previous experience in caring for the dying. Covid-19 highlighted just how important it is to have these skills and showed that there are many professionals who could benefit from further training to manage these difficult situations.

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“Now, more than ever, palliative and end-of-life care needs to be embedded in the training and education of all health and social care staff.”

Palliative and end-of-life care training is currently delivered to more than 100 care settings by the practice development team, alongside other professionals including district nurses, GPs, the hospital specialist palliative care team and hospice doctors.

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This collaborative approach will continue, as these services will work with the hub to offer training based on their specialisms.

Debbie said: “The hub will bring all this education and training taking place in the borough under one umbrella, which will ensure less repetition and a clearer structure to palliative and end-of-life care education.

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“I am delighted that Healthier Wigan Partnership shares the same vision we do at the hospice and has committed to funding the service long-term, which will lead to a much-improved end-of-life experience for patients and for those people important to them across our borough.”

The team launched in 2015 to support eight nursing homes, rising to 14. In response to the pandemic, it began offering training to nursing and residential homes and worked with learning disability teams, mental health services, extra care and supported living settings.

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Debbie added: “Our experiences over the years have shown us that training and education significantly reduces the financial burden on the NHS and provides better outcomes, not only for patients and families, but the people working hard to give their patients, residents and service users the best possible care.”

Health and social care professionals are invited to the launch at 2pm on Wednesday, October 5 to find out more.