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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Special unit at Cumbrian hospital to care for the terminally ill

TERMINALLY ill patients are starting to receive specialist care in a new hospital unit.

The Copeland Unit, at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, includes four specially-developed en suite rooms.

It is designed to provide care for people requiring pain and symptom control in an environment specifically designed to be calming and relaxing.

The new beds will complement the palliative care currently at the hospital, within the community and at other community hospitals.

Esther Kirby, who is the deputy director of nursing for Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust, said: “Many patients who have been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness can be cared for by their GP, hospital consultant, district nurse and other health care professionals involved in their care.

“There are some patients however, that have very complex symptoms or severe pain that cannot be managed without specialist knowledge and who require an intensive period of assessment, care and/or psychological support to address these. The newly-opened beds will enable this to happen.”

She continued: “The aim of specialist palliative care is to support a patient to be discharged and cared for in their home environment, and to have the best quality of life possible, pain and symptom-free under the care of their GP and their local specialist palliative care nurse.”

The £250,000 investment by Cumbria Partnership into the service has now secured its future for the people of west Cumbria.

Jo Cloudsdale, integrated matron for Copeland, said: “The new bedrooms will provide a comfortable and specialist environment for our patients.

“There will also be a quiet room for visitors, as well as facilities for carers and families to stay overnight.

“The team will also outreach into the community and across the West Cumberland Hospital site to advise and support patients who require specialist palliative care.”

The unit will be staffed by specialist palliative care nurses, doctors, ward nurses and other healthcare professionals.

Seven nurses and a speciality doctor have been appointed to ensure patients receive the best possible care, 24 hours a day.

The Copeland Unit delivers care to patients who have been in an acute hospital and need further care and rehabilitation before discharge, as well as those referred directly by their GPs for further care and rehabilitation.

The unit also takes patients for day treatments such as blood transfusions.

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