A helpline for patients who have a serious illness and could be in the last year of their lives is being extended to support hundreds of patients in Bradford.
The dedicated Gold Line telephone service was introduced across Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven in November and will now be rolled out across the district.
It aims to provide one point of contact for patients and their carers for help and advice, 24-hours-a- day, seven-days-a-week, to support them in their preferred place of care wherever possible.
The expansion of the service means worried and frightened patients have somewhere to turn at any time of the day or night and is welcomed by the Telegraph & Argus’ With Respect campaign which calls for more dignity for elderly people, especially those in care.
The Bradford City and Bradford District Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are funding the service from Monday on a trial basis until the end of March 2015.
One of the aims of the service is to prevent the Gold Line patients having to go into hospital by providing support at home, however hospital admissions will be arranged when required.
Dr Linda Wilson, palliative care consultant at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to be able to extend this service to patients with a GP in the Bradford area.
“It is already providing extra support, reassurance and care. Early results are very encouraging and feedback from patients, their carers and professionals working with them has been very positive.
“A formal evaluation of the service is also underway and results will be available at the end of this year.”
The scheme is not expected to replace patients’ use of their GP and other community health care services during normal working hours but aims to enhance their care when daytime services have closed. Calls are answered by a team of experienced nurses in the Telehealth Hub at Airedale Hospital who are linked up to community-based teams, who can visit patients if necessary.
Dr Ian Fenwick, clinical specialty lead for end of life and cancer for the Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven and Bradford CCGs, said: “The Gold Line adds to the range of support available to patients in Bradford who are facing end of life issues. It also provides their families and carers with a direct line to expert care and support if they need help out-of-hours.”
The Gold Line service will support patients who are on the Gold Standards Framework which provides quality provision of end of life care.
Clinical nurse specialist in palliative care working for Sue Ryder Manorlands Tina Hayton said: “I now feel confident that when I go home from work, the patients I care for in Bradford have a contact number that works for them. Gold Line supports and reassure them if they are frightened, worried or have symptoms.”
Colleagues from across local health community including consultants, GPs, district nurses, a local hospice, patients and carers, have been working on the project.