2 July 2015
Nurses deliver bisphosphonates through an IV drip in Solihull
A ground-breaking new pilot scheme in Solihull to improve end-of-life care will mean a number of local cancer patients will be able to receive medical treatments at home, when they are usually only delivered in hospital or a hospice.
It will mean that some people facing their last few months of life will now be able to receive drugs called bisphosphonates through an intravenous drip, without having to travel to hospital or a hospice.
Bisphosphonates can help to protect bones against some of the effects of cancer, such as pain and weakness.
The new initiative is part of a two-year project called Macmillan Specialist Care at Home, which is aiming to transform end-of-life care across Birmingham and Solihull for people affected by cancer and other life-limiting conditions.
It's being funded primarily by Macmillan Cancer Support and delivered in partnership with NHS services, Clinical Commissioning Groups, the Marie Curie Hospice, West Midlands and Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice.
The treatment will be offered initially to up to ten patients a month who have less than a year to live and who are already receiving support from the Marie Curie Hospice, West Midlands, which is based in Solihull. The treatment will be delivered by a team of nurses employed by the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and supervised by consultants from Marie Curie.
Macmillan Specialist Care at Home in Solihull and Birmingham is one of six pilot sites being led by Macmillan across England, testing out new and innovative ways of working, so that people receive the best possible care and support at the end of their lives.
In addition to delivering medical treatment at home, the project is also testing out other improvements in the region, including providing additional training for GPs and training volunteers to provide practical and emotional support to people at home.
There are also plans to expand the range of medical treatments offered to people at home over the next few months.
Viki Williams, project lead for Macmillan Specialist Care at Home in Solihull, said: 'At Macmillan, we believe that people with cancer and other life-limiting conditions should get the best possible care and support at the end of their lives. There are no dress rehearsals, we have to get it right first time and every time.
'Lots of trips to and from hospital are the last thing people need when they are nearing the end of their lives. Travel can be stressful and most people want to be at home with their families and loved ones. By testing out this new model of care in Solihull, we hope to build the evidence we need to make the case to other NHS Trusts across the UK that they should following the example being set here in Solihull.
'It’s taken a lot of work to get to this point and we couldn’t have done it without the full support of all of the partners involved. It’s been really inspiring to see so many organisations across Solihull pulling together to make this happen.'