Treetops receives £100k to help Derbyshire care homes and their residents

Published on: Tuesday, 12th March 2024
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Risley-based charity Treetops Hospice has received £100,000 funding to help Derbyshire care homes support residents who are approaching the end of their life.

The two-year funding for the pioneering project has come from The Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust. The funding enables Laura Slack and Faye Thrasivoulou, Treetops Care Home Development and End of Life Care Support Nurses, to train care home staff to recognise the signs and symptoms when a resident’s health declines and understand how best to meet their final wishes.

The ‘End-of-Life Care Virtual Ward’ project will have a significant impact, as Faye explained: “Residential home residents are often admitted to hospital or transferred to a nursing home as their needs increase towards the end of their life. This can result in residents dying in unfamiliar surroundings. The resident may wish to die in the residential home where they may have lived for several years, as it is their home. The Care Home Development Nurses aim is to facilitate residents to die in their preferred place of care.

“We provide training to care homes that aims to empower staff to feel confident in having sensitive conversations with residents to identify and record their final wishes in advance. 

“We provide practical training for teams, bespoke to each home. We’re training whole teams, from care staff to domestic staff, to recognise early on when a resident’s health starts to decline, and how to care for them, and we offer ongoing peer support.”

The residential homes are also able to call on the Treetops Hospice at Home and Roaming Nurse Service out-of-hours for clinical support when needed. 

Long Eaton View is one of the first residential homes to receive the one-of-its-kind training and support model.

Debbie Rhodes, Registered Manager, said: “The support from Treetops Hospice has been an absolute Godsend. Laura and Faye are so supportive. They have almost become part of our team, as though they’ve always been here.’’

“Being able to provide extra support for our staff, especially the younger members of our team, has been brilliant. It has helped take away a lot of the fear of the unknown. Knowing that there’s a professional around is reassuring.

“The training has helped develop and refresh our skills. The education around talking about death and dying has led to more open conversations amongst residents and their families. It’s been very rewarding and we’re grateful for the training.”

The training is being made available to 15 residential care homes across Erewash during the two-year funding period. The project leads the way on best practice across the health and care sector and will influence the delivery of end-of-life care locally and nationally. 

Richard Benson, Director of The Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust said: “The Trust is delighted to support this project. As society ages and more of us live with complex conditions, it’s essential that we improve care for people as they approach the end of their life. 

“The project will see Treetops work with local care homes to help them have those conversations with residents and families, and to train care home staff to respond to their needs. This is an innovative and practical approach which we hope will develop into a model that others can follow.”

Last year, Treetops Hospice supported more than 2,000 patients and their families. The hospice cares for adults with life-limiting conditions, those who’ve been bereaved, as well as their loved ones. All Treetops services are provided free-of-charge and not means-tested. 

For further information about Treetops services visit or call 0115 949 1264.

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