Rapid Response Service added to NHS Directory

St Teresa’s Hospice has launched a unique emergency telephone service to help reduce hospital admissions for palliative care patients.

Our Rapid Response Team has become the first 24/7 hospice service in the region to be added to the NHS Directory of Services (DoS) enabling local 999 and 111 calls to be referred to us.

Calls to 111 will be triaged by call-handlers and clinicians, with patient information used to establish if the Rapid Response Team would be the most appropriate service for the patient.

The service, which offers 24/7 provision, 365 days a year, responds to patients registered with a Darlington GP within an hour of their call providing palliative nursing care, symptom management, crisis management and pain relief, as well as a hand to hold and a listening ear.

Head of Care at St Teresa’s Hospice Alison Marshall said: “Under the current system palliative care patients in Darlington dialling 999 or 111 would often have an ambulance dispatched and be inappropriately admitted to hospital when what they may actually need is a visit from our Rapid Response Team.

“This may be because they are distressed during the night and need reassurance or emotional support. Some may require pain relief or may have become disorientated and while others may just need help to and from the bathroom. These are all things that our Rapid Response Team is there to assist with, within an hour of receiving a call.

“The new DoS service will ensure that palliative care patients in Darlington will receive appropriate care in a timely manner, from basic support to complex symptom management and we will also hopefully see a significant reduction in inappropriate admissions to hospital.”

The new St Teresa’s Rapid Response emergency number service launched on 2nd August.

“It feels incredible to be pioneering this new system which is all about supporting patients and families in the most effective way,” added Alison.

“We will continually monitor the service, reviewing the number of calls coming through the system, with a view potentially to expanding the team in the future and sourcing additional funding if demand is high.

“We have had massive success with our Rapid Response service over the past three years and moving forward this is a really exciting development for everyone at St Teresa’s.”

St Teresa’s Hospice Rapid Response Team can be contacted directly on 07720947430.