A recent report has highlighted that Highland Hospice has built excellent partnerships with community groups across the Highlands, enabling the delivery of vital care services within local communities.
The independent evaluation of Highland Hospice befriending and care at home partnerships was commissioned to identify if this novel approach to service delivery in remote and rural communities was effective, and what could be done differently to make further improvements to the experience of those approaching the end of life across the region.
Highland Hospice operates community partnerships in North and East Sutherland, Skye, Wester Ross, North Argyll, West Lochaber and the Great Glen. All 10 partnerships offer volunteer befriending and social engagement to support those isolated due to ill-health. Three of the partners support the Hospice’s Sunflower Home Care service which provides essential social care in communities where the NHS and other independent providers have been unable to recruit staff and meet need.
The report found that the model of partnership working with Highland Hospice is invaluable in enabling the provision of care services within local communities. Without the support of the Hospice, these services would not be available within many of these communities.
Urram community group in West Lochaber said, ‘We would definitely not have set up a befriending scheme without Highland Hospice. Their knowledge and experience of establishing and running a befriending service is invaluable.’
3 Glens Community Care in Fort Augustus said, ‘Highland Hospice were the answer to our prayers.’
The partnership with 3 Glens Community Care includes support for Sunflower Home Care. As the Sunflower carers cover a wide geographical area, access to reliable vehicles is crucial and a lack of transport can be a hindrance to staff recruitment, already challenging in the social care sector. 3 Glens worked in partnership with Fort Augustus and Glen Moriston Community Company and Glengarry Trust to secure funds from SSE Renewables Sustainable Development Fund and purchase electric vehicles for the care staff to use. This innovative project brought multiple benefits including greater job retention and recruitment, and reduced carbon emissions.
The report also spoke to service-users with one care at home client noting ‘I couldn’t make it better if I tried. They are very caring people, so helpful – a godsend.’
Andrew Leaver, Head of Income and Development at Highland Hospice said ‘We started our community partnership work over six years ago as a way to provide support right across the Highlands and not just in the Hospice in Inverness. This tremendous feedback from partners and service-users reinforces our commitment to this form of working and we hope that more communities will ask for our support in developing and delivering vital care services.’