A first-of-its-kind partnership between the fire service and Rotherham Hospice will see vital fire safety education delivered to hundreds of people suffering life limiting illnesses.
The new scheme, launched to coincide with National Hospice Care Week, will see staff from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue deliver training to hospice nursing staff plus fire safety advice to patients and their families.
Patients may be referred to receive a home safety check, whereby fire service staff visit a person’s home, explain to them how to make it safer and fit smoke alarms for free if needed.
Rotherham Hospice also runs a bereavement group for young people. The fire service hopes to positively engage with youngsters aged five to 18 who are experiencing pre or post bereavement grief relating to a loved one with palliative care needs.
Fire officers hope that by launching this scheme they can make a real difference to the wellbeing of the hundreds of patients Rotherham Hospice works with.
Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “We aren’t aware of any other partnership around the country which sees fire safety education delivered to people receiving end of life care in this way.
“As a service which is here to make the lives of everyone in South Yorkshire safer, we think it is only right that we give the same level of fire safety advice to people receiving end of life care as anyone else in our community.
“We completely understand that for many of the families the hospice works with, who have so many other things to think about, fire safety probably isn’t at the top of their list of priorities. But by offering some simple fire prevention tips in a sympathetic way, we think we can do something small to make the lives of service users safer.”
The fire service hopes that, if successful, the scheme can be replicated at other hospices throughout South Yorkshire.
Diane Keeley, Head of Patient and Family Support Services at Rotherham Hospice, said: “This vital connection with the fire service will benefit our patients, their families and carers, key staff and volunteers- particularly with regard to fire safety education. The partnership will contribute positively to the holistic care planning across all Rotherham Hospice service areas”.
Staff training will give skills to staff and volunteers to quickly recognise any safety concerns within a patient’s home environment. It will also give hospice staff the information they need to know how to effectively refer for a fire service home safety check.
The introduction of educative and fun sessions for the children attending the Sunbeams Child Bereavement Service will offer them positive experiences and give them the knowledge to recognise fire safety hazards within their homes and throughout their lives.