Patients living with progressive and advanced disease across the county, and their families, will be given continuity of care all the way from their homes, through to support in the community and treatment in hospital with an integrated service.
Palliative Medicine Consultant, Dr Jessica Weller, has recently started at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust and St Barnabas Hospice, supporting Dr Georgina Keeleyside who has taken on the role of Medical Director at St Barnabas. In addition to supporting staff and patients in hospital, Dr Weller will be working as part of the Lincolnshire integrated community services running outpatient clinics in the community and carrying out home visits.
Dr Weller said: “I am passionate about offering holistic care to patients living across Lincolnshire in hospital and the community. My time will be split between seeing patients in Lincoln, Louth, Skegness and across the east coast community in hospitals, day therapy, outpatients and also in their own homes.
“My mission is to improve patient care for those with any kind of advanced illness.”
Dr Weller, who is on the oncall rota at St Barnabas Hospice, will also be able to dedicate time to support hospital teams by training all levels of staff in supportive care, as well as end of life care.
She added: “It is not only about end of life care, it is so much more than that. I believe we need to be able to recognise patients early and start conversations even when we know their current deterioration is reversible. If there is any inclination the patient could deteriorate or become unwell in the future, we need to open those conversations. This is to make sure we provide patient centred appropriate care so that we can give them the support and power to decide how we manage their condition. Palliative medicine has evolved to support patients along their journey not just at the end of life.
“There is a real community focus on keeping patients at home if that is their preference. By working with GPs, Macmillan nurses, day therapy teams, hospital at home, district nurses and the other community teams we can help this to happen. It’s all about developing the links between the hospital and the community and I will be part of that link.”
Dr Weller is also a member of the Great Britain ladies horseball team and has been since 2008. Horseball is a game played on horseback where a ball is handled and points are scored by shooting it through a hoop with a diameter of 1m. With her horse Amaretta she was part of the team to win a silver medal at the European Championships and is hoping to be part of the team competing at the World Cup next summer.