A NEW care plan will be trialled in Dudley borough to allow more people with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses to spend their final days at home.

Macmillan Cancer Support has teamed up with Mary Stevens Hospice, NHS Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group and Dudley NHS Foundation Trust for the pilot scheme.

The Macmillan Specialist Care at Home is based on a Swedish model of advanced home care.

It will be led by a community-based consultant who will ensure teams of highly skilled doctors, nurses, support workers and other professionals work together to provide flexible and personalised care.

Starting next month, the scheme will see people affected by cancer and other life-limiting conditions referred for specialist care at the earliest opportunity and offered as much medical treatment and support in the home as possible.

The team will collaborate with a range of local health and social care organisations to join up and co-ordinate the right support for the individual and their family.

The trial will run until 2016 and then an external evaluation undertaken by academics at Nottingham University’s Sue Ryder Centre, will advise on future plans.

Ciarán Devane, chief executive at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: "We know that three quarters of cancer patients would prefer to spend their final days in their own home with family and friends, but less than a third actually do. "To allow people a real choice, we need health and social care services to be coordinated into a seamless package of care."

Dr Steve Cartwright, clinical executive at Dudley CCG, added: “This is an excellent example of partnership working at its best. By ensuring the right care packages are in place in the community for terminally ill people and their families, emergency hospital admission for those at the end of life could be substantially reduced.”

He continued: "Not only does this pilot scheme offer patients the chance to be cared for in the comfort of their own home, but by learning to manage their own symptoms they can often prevent hospital stays and the associated distress these might cause. We hope to learn a lot through these pilots about how cancer care could look in the future."