According to recent research, over 60 per cent of people in the UK would choose to die at home, surrounded by their family and friends, if they were terminally ill. In Somerset, only 22 per cent of people are able to do so; and in North Somerset only 18 per cent of people do so.
The Marie Curie Delivering Choice Programme in Somerset was launched in June 2008 to improve local care and support services so that more people can have the choice of being cared for at home at the end of their lives. First established in Lincolnshire in 2004, the Delivering Choice Programme now operates in 18 areas.
The Delivering Choice Programme in Somerset covers a population of around 700,000 people in Somerset and North Somerset. The project is a partnership initiative involving the local NHS, hospices, acute trusts, social care and a number of voluntary and independent sector organisations.
To understand the needs of local patients and carers, the Somerset project completed a comprehensive review of existing services. Seven workstreams were set up to look at key areas of improvement including information-sharing, coordination, communication, professional development and the provision of high-quality care whenever it is needed.
More than 150 health and social care professionals, as well as patients and carers, attended the workstream meetings to develop proposals for new service models. The working groups explored existing services and how they can be enhanced through the rollout of good practice already taking place and by introducing new services to support the project’s new end of life care pathway.
Local organisations in Somerset and North Somerset are now rolling out new and improved services to give more terminally ill patients choice in their place of care and death, regardless of their diagnosis.
These new services will be piloted and independently evaluated to ensure that they are effective, cost-efficient and most importantly, are successfully supporting patient choice. For further information regarding the new services that are being implemented in your area, please select the 'New and improved services' section for your area from the menu bar.
The Delivering Choice Programme has been working closely with a broad range of service providers. They include:
Please visit the Marie Curie Delivering Choice Programme website for further information about the Somerset project and other Delivering Choice projects in the UK.