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Sharing Current Scottish Practice

Poster abstracts of the month - May

The SPPC Annual Conference in 2016 featured 36 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:

Highland hospice - Reaching Out


Hamling K and Steele K

Highland Hospice has a proud history of delivering and promoting high quality palliative care for our community, geographically the size of Belgium with a population of just over 220,000.

We are currently piloting a number of innovative and creative responses to deal with these geographic and demographic challenges using digital communication, supporting more people to a higher standard at home or in a care home environment, increasing our value to the wider health and social care system and providing better quality care for those in need.

This outreaching of care includes:

ž- using ECHO Highland Hospice © - a collaborative web-based model of education and care management that moves knowledge without moving people

- HHeLP – Highland Hospice electronically Linking People © - an interactive, secure internet portal developed to provide patients receiving palliative care with support and information in their own home

ž- Helping Hands – a non-clinical volunteer support/ befriending service supporting patients and their families in the last year of life at home

ž collaborative working with care homes across all sectors to improve end of life care

ž- working with community services currently being redesigned to support and improve end of life care closer to home.

This poster presentation will report on all these projects in action.

How can a palliative care outcome measure be used in an acute care setting? An audit of the Integrated Palliative Outcome Scale (IPOS) in a Scottish teaching hospital


Buchanan D, Brabin E, Dickson S, Finlay M, Gaffney M, McFatter F, Paterson F and

Scott J

Background: The Integrated Palliative Outcome Scale (IPOS) has been developed to enable a streamlined, holistic approach to outcome measurement in palliative care patients. Practical experience of using IPOS in different care settings is required to develop understanding of its usability, acceptability and value for patients, relatives and staff.

Methods: A prospective audit of IPOS (3 Day Patient Version) was undertaken in a Scottish teaching hospital between November and December 2015. Consecutive referrals to the Team were considered for IPOS on first contact, after 3 days and prior to discharge.

Results: Of 68 patients screened (median age 70), 27 (40%) completed one IPOS and 7 (26%) completed two. Median Palliative Performance Scale (PPS) was lower and Palliative Prognostic Index (PPI) was higher in patients who did not complete IPOS versus those who did (PPS 40% versus 50%, PPI 6 versus 3.5). Problems reported most frequently as moderate, severe or overwhelming were family anxiety (85%), mobility (85%), pain (81%), weakness (78%) and patient anxiety (74%). 67% of patients reported ≥5 symptoms as moderate, severe or overwhelming.

Conclusion: IPOS facilitates a comprehensive holistic assessment and provides useful information about the range and severity of problems affecting patients referred to a HPCT. Patient frailty and staff resource are factors which may limit its repeatability in busy hospital wards. Population level data aggregation is required for IPOS scores to be benchmarked and contextualised.

How do palliative care specialists add value?


Mcmillan M

Aims: To test a tool that demonstrates the areas and complexity of care covered by a HPCT professional per patient visit.

Methods: Informed by a literature review a specialist intervention tool was developed. This scores activity within eight domains of care, commonly assessed and managed by HPCT, according to complexity. It also records the length and type of visit.

Over 4 weeks the tool was used to assess and score every patient intervention (assessment visit and resulting activity) carried out by the HPCT.

Results: In the study period 74 patients were reviewed and 277 interventions made.

60% of visits were multi-dimensional with 5 or more of the 8 domains of care assessed.

71% of interventions included assessment of patient priorities and discussions related to advanced care planning

25% of patients had very short but intense involvement from HPCT to achieve desired place of care: less than 4 visits but activity in all 8 domains.

Conclusion: The specialist intervention tool highlights areas where practitioners are adding value to patient care and where they are influencing patient outcomes. The domains of care are broad enough to be applicable to both hospital and community palliative care.

Informing practice: NHSScotland Palliative Care Guidelines 2016 Survey Results


Fearns N, Riches E and Winning A

The NHSScotland Palliative Care Guidelines website received over 109,000 visits between August 2015 and August 2016. The most frequently visited guidelines are: anticipatory prescribing, choosing and changing opioids, Fentanyl patches and syringe pump drug combination tables. To inform an approach to a potential update of the guidelines a national survey was issued during May 2016 and received 349 responses. 28.9% of responses came from palliative care specialists, 71.1% from non-specialists with the greatest proportion of respondents being community nurses (36.4%). 93.4% of all respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they used the guidelines to guide and inform treatment and/or care decisions for patients. Of the 101 palliative care specialists who responded 14.9% indicated that they were aware of new evidence or changes in practice impacting on use of the guidelines, such as changes in availability of medicines, new evidence on effectiveness of medicines and changes in terminology. Guidelines cited as requiring updates include: seizures, Alfentanil, care in the last days of life, vomiting and nausea and neuropathic pain. Suggestions for improvement include changes to the website layout and increased promotion of the guidelines. The survey results alongside website data will inform a potential series of guideline updates.

Lothian Care Assistant Development Programme - An education initiative


Cassidy L

With the Scottish Government’s integration of health and social care, social care teams are increasingly leading the care for clients and their families who are living with a terminal illness. Addressing the learning needs of social care workers is essential to ensure the provision of high quality palliative care for families’ in their preferred place of care, and to reduce emergency admissions to hospital where avoidable.

Care workers attended a single training day, with a portion going on to complete an online module. Care workers were supported in their care setting by a workplace mentor. Mentorship training and support was provided by the programme team.

500 social care workers will have completed the single day training and 75 will be completing the online professional development module by the conference date. Single day evaluation, pre and post knowledge and confidence questionnaire and focus groups are being used to evaluate the programme and its transferability.

To achieve the aims set out in the Strategic Framework for Action on Palliative and End of Life Care, it is essential that social care teams are adequately supported and trained to provide high quality palliative care for people and their families living with a terminal illness.

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