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Sharing Current Scottish Practice

This blog provides an opportunity for people to share examples of current Scottish palliative care practice that might be of interest to the palliative care community more widely. If you know of work underway that might be relevant for sharing on our website, please get in touch.

Poster abstracts of the month

The SPPC Annual Conference in 2017 featured 46 poster displays, sharing work and research underway across Scotland. Each month, this blog focuses on the content of a few of these posters. This month, we focus on six of these:


Enriching & Improving Experience


Jane Andrew; Elaine Colville; Elizabeth Sanchez-Vivar

A framework to support the learning and development needs of the health and social service workforce in Scotland” (2017) We took an integrated collaborative approach to identify the knowledge and skills required by all health and social service workers in palliative and end of life care. We consulted widely with health and social service workers, palliative care experts, educators and other partners in cyclical co-design approach. The structure and content was informed by evidence gathered from, scoping exercise, rapid review of literature, mapping of existing frameworks, workforce focus groups, online learning needs survey, expert and reference group opinion, workforce consultation events and online workforce consultation. Results: Five domains reflect the core knowledge and skills integral to the delivery of high quality palliative and end of life care. Each domain contains four levels of knowledge and skills. The framework promotes a person-centred, outcomes-focused, human rights-based approach. Conclusions: Integration of health and social care in Scotland means that increasingly teams from different sectors are coming together to provide care and support focussed on people’s needs. The scope and depth of workforce engagement undertaken is a strength of this framework which will support implementation across integrated services.

Football and Absent Friends


Jeanette Byers

Health Promoting Palliative Care Project worked in collaboration with Hibernian Football Club GameChanger Project to host a 'To Absent Friends' event during November 2017, as part of the wider national To Absent Friends Festival. Response from fans was overwhelmingly positive, with over 500 personal tributes collated on posters that were available in the stadium. This demonstrated the value of promoting openness about bereavement in a community setting that is not routinely associated with end of life matters.
The concept is based on community development principles and fits in with Public Health Palliative Care values. The method was simple: provide information about the proposed event on the fans website, then put up posters/pens/BluTack) around the stadium over 2 match days. 130 x A3 sheets are now being preserved in the Club's museum, and a similar event will be run annually by the Club. Scottish Football League Trust is promoting this concept to 42 clubs across Scotland.

Hospital Based Complex Clinical Care


Jeanette Byers; Mairi Johnston

Palliative Care Specialist Nurse and Palliative Link nurses organised an event for ‘To Absent Friends’ (TAF) week. On the 1st November, tables were set up in 5 hospital areas with resources provided by Health Promoting Palliative Care Project (leaflets, memory books, memorial trees, TAF posters, pens etc). Each area was manned for 2 hrs in the afternoon. This allowed communication with staff, patients and visitors so that displays could be introduced sensitively. Staff and visitors were given the opportunity to write in the book or write tags to hang on the tree. One ward area now offers the memorial book all year round for patients and visitors to use.
Following on from the success of this event, the group was keen to further develop its knowledge and skills around health promoting palliative care so workshops were facilitated by Specialist Palliative Care Nurses and the Health Promoting Palliative Care project team. This included workstations where link nurses could become familiar with resources such as Advanced Care Planning cards and Origami. There was also time for discussion and reflection on professional and personal experiences of death, dying and bereavement.
Qualitative data is available from written material and verbal feedback, demonstrating the value of supporting staff as they encourage open discussion about end of life issues within their hospital environment.

Implementing Palliative and End of Life Care Standards in Scottish Prisons


Gail Allan

Background: The Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework for Action on Palliative and End of Life Care shares a vision where palliative and end of life care is available to all including those in Prison. With an ageing prison population, the Scottish Prison Service has to deal with more foreseeable deaths than ever before. This brings new challenges for both prison regimes and prison facilities in providing quality palliative and end of life care for those prisoners.
Aim: Initial aims of project:
ž introductory visits to meet with Prison service and NHS staff to discuss role and introduce them to the standards of care
ž identify prison establishments willing to participate in tests of change
ž work collaboratively with these prisons to identify their palliative population and areas for improvement.
Early Results:
ž delivered sessions on ‘What is palliative and end of life care?’
ž developed Palliative and Supportive Care registers
ž support development of multidisciplinary prison palliative care meetings
ž delivery of Anticipatory Care Planning training to prison and NHS staff
ž process mapping of palliative and end of life service provision in key establishment to bench mark against standards of care and evaluate further areas of change.

Inheritance Books and Health Promoting Palliative Care at the Edinburgh International Book Festival


Danuta Orlowska; Andrew Reeves; Brigid Lyon; Rebecca Patterson; Mark Hazelwood

The Edinburgh International Book Festival attracts audiences from around the world. This year, the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care, St Columba's Hospice Edinburgh and Marie Curie Hospice Edinburgh were offered space there for a weekend. We used this in several ways:
a) Photographic exhibition: "It Takes a Village" by Glasgow-based photographer Colin Gray in collaboration with the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care explores the idea that as people’s health deteriorates, care and support come in many guises.
b) Conversations: staff from both hospices spoke to visitors and two "Death Lunches" were facilitated by staff from Marie Curie Hospice.
c) Information sharing: leaflets from Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief and the new ‘origami game’ about Advance Care Planning (SPPC)
d) “Inheritance Books” people were invited to note the title of a book they inherited or would like to pass on and why this book means a lot. Completed postcards were displayed.
e) St Columba's Hospice in Edinburgh Doors Open Day (23 September 2017) – postcards advertising this were given to local visitors.
Our poster shares some “Inheritance Books”, visitor feedback and our reflections on engaging in health promoting palliative care at The Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Inspiring Leadership – Leading self; leading others in a palliative care setting


Jane Miller; Susan Jackson; Fiona Wylie; Claire O'Neill

Background: It is recognised within Palliative Care (PC) that band 6 CNS’s, in particular newly appointed staff have reported feeling vulnerable, stressed and struggling to deliver high quality care due to organisational change and increasing complexity around their role. To address the above an NHSGGC PC Leadership Steering Group was established in partnership with NES Leadership Unit.


ž Provide a pilot leadership training programme open to band 6 PC CNS’s working within NHSGGC acute and hospice care settings

ž Facilitate greater successional planning

ž Develop a robust evaluation programme to explore perceived impact on practice.

Methods: In conjunction with NES Leadership Unit a needs led leadership programme is currently being delivered and evaluated due to complete February 2018

Interim Results: 10 CNS’s participated. Participants have attended a launch day and two masterclasses:

ž Myers Briggs and Working with Differences Support a quality improvement (QI) programme individual QI action plans

ž QI methodology to support the participants to undertake a work based QI project.

Received ‘360’ feedback helping to inform their PDP.

Participated in Action Learning Sets.

Conclusion: Feedback to date has confirmed the importance of this programme in addressing a need, focusing on developing leadership skills for a capable, sustainable workforce (201).

Poster abstracts of the month

The SPPC Annual Conference in 2017 featured 46 poster displays, sharing work and research underway across Scotland. Each month, this blog focuses on the content of a few of these posters. This month, we focus on eight of these:


Culture Sharing: Death and dying in North India – learning from a mentorship visit to a rural palliative care team in North India


Kim Donaldson; Lorraine Wilson

Harriet Benson Memorial Hospital (HBMH) is part of the Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA), a charitable organisation delivering healthcare in rural North India. HBMH provides general, obstetric, public health and palliative care services to people in and around the Lalitpur district, Utter Pradesh. Following an evaluative report1 of the Lalitpur palliative care services, the Community Palliative Care Team Lead and Practice Development Facilitator from St Columba’s Hospice visited to offer support and mentorship palliative care team. Adopting a positive enquiry approach many areas of extraordinary practice were identified along with areas of practice for potential development beyond the scope of the Hospice UK (2009) toolkit2 for resource limited areas. The main areas for development included deepening understanding of pain assessment and management; identification of depression and clinical record keeping. The learning was by no means one sided, the acceptance of death as part of living was evident with nothing hidden has left us asking the question – can we say the same?

1 Haraldsdottir, E. and Mundy, D. 2015. Evaluation of the EHA Palliative Care Project Funded by EMMS International. Edinburgh.

2 Help the Hospices (Now Hospice UK). Palliative Care Tool Kit. Help the Hospices: London

Discontinuing non-essential interventions at the end of life – a split site, dual discipline quality improvement project


Dr Alana Brown-Kerr; Dr Lorna Frame; Dr Victoria Beveridge; Dr Sarah Bowers; Sr Julie Carroll; Sr Fiona Kerr; Dr Claire Borland; Dr Lauren Anderson; Dr Alistair McKeown; Dr Fiona Finlay.

Background/ Aim: Local, National and Scottish Government guidance advocates discontinuing burdensome interventions when caring for patients at the end of life. In two large Scottish hospitals, over 70% of patients identified to be dying underwent blood tests and National Early Warning Score (NEWS) monitoring within 24 hours of death. The aim was to reduce this figure by 50%.

Methods: Data were collected over 6 months in 9 wards across 2 hospital sites. PDSA methodology was used and the following tests of change undertaken; 1. Stickers stating “No further blood tests/NEWS monitoring” placed in medical/nursing notes 2. Joint medical and nursing education about optimising care at end of life 3. An “alert” incorporated into electronic case records to prevent requesting of blood tests.

Results: Initial analysis demonstrates a downward trend in unnecessary investigations/monitoring in the 24 hours before death. The full project will be analysed by early September.

Conclusion: This multi-disciplinary, multi-site quality improvement project demonstrated that a combined programme of medical and nursing education, with visual and electronic prompts can reduce the proportion of patients undergoing investigations in the last day of life, as well as increasing the confidence and skills of the MDT in caring for dying people.

Do Hospital Anticipatory Care Plans improve patient care? An evaluation of end of life care in a District General Hospital


Dr Alice Radley; Dr Heather Osbourne; Dr Tahlia McKenzie

Background: Hospital Anticipatory Care Plans (HACPs) are a clinical tool used to communicate end of life care decisions. This study evaluated delivery of patient care at the end of life with and without a HACP in place.

Method: All deaths in Hairmyres Hospital between 02/02/16-02/02/17 were reviewed using scanned case notes in Clinical Portal. All expected deaths were included in the study. Patients were categorised according to presence or absence of HACP at the time of death. The following aspects of end of life care were evaluated: treatment escalation decisions, DNACPR decisions, DNACPR discussions, referral to hospital palliative care services and consideration of patient’s preferred place of care. Descriptive statistics and significance testing were used to compare outcomes between HACP and no HACP groups.

Results: 1115 deaths occurred within the study period. 913 cases met the criteria for expected deaths.

Presence of a HACP predicted greater frequency of documented treatment escalation decisions (p<0.002); greater number of documented DNACPR decisions (p=0.002); more frequent DNACPR discussions with the patient’s family or next of kin (p=0.003); and a greater number of referrals to hospital Palliative Care services (p=0.00007).

Conclusions: HACPs are valuable clinical tools which can improve patient care at the end of life.

Do cloth bereavement bags make a difference when handing back patients’ belongings to bereaved relatives/ carers compared to the current plastic bags within the acute hospitals across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde?


Sharon Lambie

When a patient dies within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GG&C), belongings are currently returned in a plastic bag which can often seem undignified and disrespectful when handing these back to a loved one. These bags are universally used for all belongings, meaning that there is no recognition for someone who has been bereaved. An audit was undertaken to see whether there was a quality improvement with handing over patient's belongings in a cloth bereavement bag compared to a plastic bag. Included in the audit was returning patient's jewellery in a small organza bag and a condolence card was attached to the cloth bag using a ribbon. The audit showed very positive results from both staff and relatives experience concluding that it showed that belongings were handed back in a much more caring way with greater respect, dignity and compassion. Funding has now been granted to roll out the cloth bereavement bags in all areas across GG&C.

End of life care in hospital - are we getting it right?


Elizabeth Moss; Dr Fiona McFatter

We present the results of an audit of End of Life Care in Ninewells Hospital which was undertaken as a 4th year medical student project.

In 2014 the Scottish Government published guidance on 'Caring for people in the last days and hours of life'. This guidance is applicable in all care settings. As the majority of deaths occur in hospital it is essential that good end of life care is provided in this setting. A retrospective case note audit was undertaken of 50 patients who died between Jan-March 2017. A convenience sample from all deaths in that period was taken according to case notes which were available. The care provided was compared to the 4 Principles outlined in the Scottish Government Guidance. We found evidence of good end of life care. This included - in over 90% of cases there was documented end of life care discussion with patients or families, DNACPR forms had been completed and anticipatory medication was prescribed. There was direct hospital palliative care team input for only 5 patients. This suggests good end of life care was provided by a range of hospital specialties supported by existing skills in caring for people who are dying.

End of life care: service evaluation in a hospice in-patient unit


Amanda Powell; Gill Foster

Scottish Government guidance supports clinical and care staff planning and providing care during the last days and hours of life. A service evaluation was undertaken to establish whether care provision in a hospice in-patient unit encompassed its four key principles.

Thirty consecutive case-notes of patients who died in the in-patient unit were reviewed retrospectively for evidence of documentation of such care.

60% of patients had informative, sensitive and timely discussions about dying including their concerns, goals, wishes, and psycho-social and spiritual needs. 83% of those who didn’t had cognitive impairment or were unconscious.

97% of case-notes had documentation that death was expected, inappropriate interventions discontinued (97%), inappropriate drugs discontinued (93%) and anticipatory medication prescribed (100%).

DNACPR decision was discussed with 96% of patients without cognitive impairment. All patients with cognitive impairment had that decision discussed with a relative/carer.

100% of case-notes documented informative, timely communication with relatives/carers and advice regarding bereavement support and in 97% that practical advice was given after death.

A further study is planned to ascertain from clinical staff factors that prevent or facilitate exploration and documentation of the holistic needs of those with cognitive impairment.

End-stage chronic liver disease: a look at the last year of life


Ruth Yates; Eliana Saffouri; Fiona Finlay; Alix Morieux

Background: Patients with chronic liver disease (CLD) and its complications present frequently to hospital; at end-stage, supportive and palliative care needs can be high. In this study, the last year of CLD patients' lives is described to seek opportunities for earlier concurrent palliative care involvement.

Methods: A comprehensive retrospective case-note analysis was performed of patients who died of CLD (or complications) in a teaching hospital over a year (n=77).

Results: Alcohol was the aetiological factor in 84.4% of cases. Median survival from diagnosis to death was 2 years. A third of patients died on their first admission to hospital. Only 15 patients (19.5%) were referred to the Hospital Specialist Palliative Care Team (HSPCT). Many patients had investigations within 24 hours of death. The majority of patients (89.6%) had a DNACPR order in place at death but 38% were signed less than 24 hours before death.

Discussion: Despite evidence that patients with CLD have a poor prognosis, high symptom burden and supportive needs, only a small minority were referred to the HSPCT. This data highlights the need for greater collaboration between specialties to both help patients live as well as possible while preparing them for the reality of a poor prognosis.

Enhanced Palliative Care for Generalists Course

There is a hunger from non-specialists, in both Primary and Secondary care, for enhanced training in practical Palliative Care. With the aging population there will be an increasing need for enhanced palliative care to be delivered across the medical professions. At present there are a number of courses available, mainly distance learning, and often quite time consuming and too academic for a generalist looking to advance their skills and seeking practical guidance. Following feedback on the Scottish Palliative Care Guidelines, where there were comments that broader and more detailed guidance would be helpful, a proposal was taken to Macmillan to support the development of a training course for generalists.

The proposed Enhanced Palliative Care for Generalists course will be an educational program based on the well established model of a comprehensive, well evidenced, manual underpinning a two day interactive course. This model has been used successfully across the world to train nurses, doctors, paramedics, and allied health professionals. Examples of these include ATLS, ALS, PHTLS, APLS, and GEMS, amongst others. Areas covered include trauma, medical emergencies, paediatrics, and care of the elderly, but at present there is no similar course for Palliative Care. Macmillan have granted funding to develop one over the next 18 months to two years.

The proposal is to prepare a pre-course manual, and develop an interactive course that will be run over two consecutive days. This will include lectures to cover the principal issues, small group workshops, skill stations, and “real life” scenarios. There will be an assessment at the end, which will probably involve a MCQ and some form of practical assessment. The course will follow the general structure of the Scottish Palliative Care Guidelines, and have these as a core resource. The project has the support of both Health Improvement Scotland, and the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care.

To develop the project, a steering group is being established, with membership including specialists in palliative medicine from all the professions involved, generalists, and an educator. They will oversee the direction and co-ordination of the project. The aim is to have this group meet for the first time towards the end of June.

The group will be chaired by the project clinical lead, Neil Pryde, who is responsible for delivering the final product. Class Professional Publishing are partnering to produce the course materials, and will provide support and guidance throughout the project. Writing of the manual will be divided into around twelve sections. Each of these will have a main author, with a specialist interest in the area covered, leading a small group. There will be a separate group to develop the interactive course. Finally the materials will be peer reviewed, and the course piloted, prior to release.

By Neil Pryde, Project Clinical Lead.

For further information or if you are interested in being involved with the steering group, writing parts of the manual, or developing the interactive course please email or phone Neil Pryde 07770574467

New research study aims to better support cancer patients with terminal illness

The University of Chester has been awarded funding by Macmillan Cancer Support for a new research study, to develop a psychological support intervention for cancer patients who have been referred into palliative care services.

A team of researchers at the University of Chester and the University of Edinburgh have been awarded a £34,000 grant for the collaborative project, which will be run in partnership with terminal illness charity Marie Curie.

The funding will enable Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) based psychological therapy sessions to be delivered to people with cancer who are transitioning into specialist palliative care services. The shift from curative to palliative treatment can be accompanied by high levels of psychological distress and poor quality of life. The intervention being developed as part of this study is called BEACHeS which stands for Brief Engagement and Acceptance Coaching in Community and Hospice Settings.

Previous research led by the University of Chester has already shown that ACT may help cancer survivors to become more resilient to suffering and psychological distress. This pilot work aims to extend that research to patients receiving palliative care.

ACT is a psychological therapy that aims to help people to get the most out of their lives, whatever their circumstances. As such the research team think this will be a complementary approach to mainstream palliative care. The pilot study began in March 2018 and will run for a year. Participants (patients at Marie Curie Hospice Edinburgh and Marie Curie Hospice Liverpool) will have one-to-one therapy sessions with a psychologist over a six-week period and the researchers will test whether this short intervention has improved their psychological wellbeing. The research team hope that this will lead to a future trial and larger programme of work researching the benefits of ACT for people with cancer and other life-limiting conditions.

Photo: The BEACHeS Study Steering Group (left to right): Sue Millington, Jenny Strachan, David Gillanders, Brooke Swash, Juliet Spiller, Anne Finucane and Nick Hulbert-Williams.

Poster abstracts of the month

The SPPC Annual Conference in 2017 featured 46 poster displays, sharing work and research underway across Scotland. Each month, this blog focuses on the content of a few of these posters. This month, we focus on six of these:



01. A quality improvement approach to cognitive assessment on hospice admission: could we use the 4AT or Short CAM?


Dr Lucy Baird; Dr Juliet Spiller

Prevalence studies show that 13-42% of patients admitted to specialist palliative care inpatient units have delirium. Symptoms of delirium are often subtle and easily missed, or misdiagnosed as fatigue or depression, and so the use of a screening tool could improve early identification and management of delirium and lead to improved outcomes. A quality improvement (QI) approach was used to improve screening for delirium on admission to a hospice unit. A baseline measure was taken of the rate of performance of cognitive assessment on admission. Five PDSA cycles were then undertaken. The first cycle determined staff preference between two cognitive assessment methods: the Short CAM and the 4AT. Two further PDSA cycles embedded the 4AT (the preferred tool) into the admission process, establishing it as a usable tool in the hospice setting for up to 92% of admissions. A subsequent cycle showing poor sustainability prompted staff education and changes to admission documentation, resulting in an increase in cognitive assessment being performed, from 50% to 76%. The QI approach highlighted the need to link staff awareness of their use of the screening tool with perceived improvements in the treatment of delirium, which prompted the creation and implementation of a ‘Delirium Checklist’.

02. A very expensive sticking plaster?


Dr Sheonad Laidlaw; Dr Maire O’Riordan; Carolyn Mackay

From September 2015 – September 2016 the use of Lidocaine 5% plasters totalled 14% of Marie Curie Glasgow drug expenditure despite limited evidence on benefit in palliative care patients.

A retrospective analysis of in-patient case notes for October 2016 was undertaken. The primary aims of this analysis were: to better understand the number of patients using Lidocaine 5% plasters; to understand the rationale for prescribing this treatment and whether it is in line with current evidence and recommendations; and to reduce our total spend on a treatment of doubtful benefit.

50% patients admitted on this treatment were prescribed them appropriately as guided by Scottish Palliative Care Guidelines. 4 x patients had their treatment initiated by us inappropriately for musculoskeletal pain. 83% of patients were using 1 plaster daily, 17% using 2 daily (totally 98 plasters a week at a cost of £235.50).

We are currently assessing patient benefit at 48-hours and 1 week post admission/ initiation, and trialling a 24-hr patch free period if the pain is shown to respond to the plaster; by doing so we aim to ensure that Lidocaine plasters are only prescribed if of proven benefit and that expenditure is reduced where there is no patient benefit.

03. Accessing Advanced Care Plans: what's in a Key Information Summary (KIS)?


Dr Lucy Baird; Dr Jennifer A. Harrison

78% of people are admitted to hospital in their last year of life and 89% of those who die in hospital are admitted as an emergency. They often have an Anticipatory Care Plan, documented by GPs in the Key Information Summary (KIS). This can include invaluable information, but utilisation remains poor in the acute hospital setting. We aimed to find out more about the information contained in KISs and improve use of the KIS in the Acute Receiving Unit (ARU) at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh using Quality Improvement methodology. We collected data from 20 patients/month (August ‘16 to July ‘17) admitted through ARU who had a KIS. We documented what information each KIS contained, whether we judged it to be useful and if there was any record of it being utilised in the first 24 hours following admission. A staff survey was performed which looked at KIS awareness. Following departmental teaching and poster display, data collection continued to track any improvement. KIS utilisation improved marginally, from 8% to 13%, with our interventions, but overall remained poor. Information most and least likely to be included in KISs was information related to chronic diseases and patient decisions respectively.

04. Adult and Children's Palliative Care Services Working Together to Transform Transitions through Trust and Innovation


Liz Smith; Fiona Wylie; Jayne Grant

There is growing evidence of the increased number of young adults (YA) living with life limiting conditions in Scotland. In response to this the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice (PPWH) recognised they have a role to play in supporting YA and their family transition from paediatric to adult hospice services.

To support the above there was a need to ensure that the staff had the appropriate knowledge, skills and competence to support YA and their families.

Recognising a gap in these areas the hospice sought potential support and collaboration with Children’s Hospice Across Scotland (CHAS).The developed project aimed to support PPWH staff deliver a high standard of care to YA by addressing their learning needs through joint workshops and staff secondments to CHAS. This work supported building trust and establishing relationships between the children and adult hospice. Pre and post secondment evaluation, feedback and reflection is a key aspect of this work informing and developing the YA hospice service model.

To date this collaboration has been shown to be an effective way of influencing and managing change, building staff skills and confidence positively impacting on the patient and family experience

05. An Evaluation of the Lothian Palliative Care Redesign Programme


Niall Kieran; Helen Highley

Background: An independent evaluation of a collaborative programme initiative to review the local delivery of palliative care and delivery of a whole systems improvement.

Aim: The programme aimed to identify local palliative care need, working with local stakeholders to invest in identified improvement areas.

Methods: Qualitative interviews with stakeholders, individual project reports and quantitative data relating to hospital usage allowed for significant sources of evaluative data. In combining sources of data, the evaluation sought to measure both the practical impact, and the Strategic Added Value of strong partnership working

Results: A total of 8 projects were funded through the programme, with results from each project including:

ž an increase in potential number of patients identified as palliative

ž in excess of 500 social care workers receiving palliative care training

ž new model of working in Marie Curie Hospice Edinburgh

ž increased awareness raising for palliative care

ž improved experiences for employed carers

ž increase in the amount of time patients spent in their own homes and a reduction in deaths in hospital

ž befriending service launched for patients and families.

Conclusion: The investment in the programme allowed a culture of change to develop in local palliative care. In doing so, staff have benefited from increased palliative care knowledge, whilst ultimately patients now have improved outcomes and experiences.

06. An Innovative Approach To Community Nursing


Margaret O'Donnell

Introduction: Community palliative CNS, Margaret O’Donnell, identified many patients who were referred were in crisis with little understanding of their condition/ medications / and how to manage symptoms. To meet the needs of these patients an early intervention pilot was established

Aim: The overall aim of this pilot was to offer early intervention in symptom management and psychological support, for patients diagnosed with life limiting conditions by providing early access to specialist palliative care. The hope was that this would reduce the episodes of crisis noted by GPs and district nurses, and help to support patients and their families

Method: A seven month pilot was initiated, GP’s were asked to refer patients with life limiting illness to an outreach clinic held in the local health centre. Qualitative and quantitative audit was undertaken post pilot period. Activity at the clinic was monitored – patient referrals and outcomes, feedback regarding the care experience was sought from patients who attended the outreach clinic, healthcare professionals were asked for feedback regarding their experience of this service.

Results: Total referrals received/reason for referral/duration of care/patient outcome continuing care of patients from the pilot/other hospice services utilised

Feedback from patients and healthcare professions on their experience.

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