St Gemma’s Hospice in Leeds has been selected by the Health Foundation, an independent health care charity, to be part of its new £1.5 million innovation programme, Innovating for Improvement.  St Gemma’s, the only hospice to appear in the final list of successful projects, will receive funding of £74,000 to support a new end of life care initiative.

The Innovating for Improvement programme is supporting seventeen health care projects in the UK with the aim of improving health care delivery and/or the way people manage their own health care by testing and developing innovative ideas and approaches and putting them into practice.

The initiative from St Gemma’s Hospice aims to develop and implement nurse-led beds for end-of-life patients within the hospice’s in-patient unit.

Over the course of the programme the team will develop its innovative idea and approach, put it into practice and gather evidence about how the innovation improves the quality of health care.

The team will be led by Catherine Malia, Advanced Nurse Practitioner at St Gemma’s Hospice who said:  “We are delighted to be one of the successful organisations to benefit from the awards.  Many end-of-life patients may prefer to die in a hospice but are unable to because they do not have specialist medical palliative care needs. This project will involve assigning some hospice beds as nurse-led; designated for the care of patients with a limited prognosis but without complex symptoms requiring medical input. This is a really great opportunity for St Gemma’s and will help us to reach more patients who may benefit from our expert end of life care.”

Libby Keck, Programme Manager from the Health Foundation said, “We are very excited to be working with such a high-calibre of teams, who all have great innovative ideas. As an organisation we are keen to support innovation at the frontline, therefore I am pleased that we will be able to support these ambitious teams to develop and test their innovative ideas over the next year.

“Our aim is to promote the effectiveness and real impact of the teams’ innovations and show how they have succeeded in improving the quality of health care, with the intention of these being widely adopted across the UK health service. The programme will run for fifteen months and each project will receive up to £75,000 of funding to support the implementation and evaluation of the project.”

St Gemma’s Hospice, in Leeds, is the largest hospice in Yorkshire and one of the largest in England. The Hospice provides specialist palliative and end of life care for thousands of local people with cancer and other life threatening illnesses each year. It is an independent charity and needs to raise over £20,000 per day to run all of its services.