Quality patient care and family support depends on sharing information between patients and healthcare professionals. However, the number of settings where palliative care is provided may form a barrier to effective communication.
Technologically advanced countries have been developing electronic patient records to enable access to information by all healthcare providers. I.T. is expensive, relying on professionals to keep records up to date and ensure confidentiality.
Our patients living with life limiting illnesses could not wait for the development of databases.
A paper booklet called the Multiprofessional Toolkit was designed so that patients take ownership of their health information. They ask any healthcare workers they meet to make entries in their booklet to keep it up to date. It enables problems to be managed according to the patient's wishes.
Methodology A coordinator interviewed patients and professionals from the hospice, the hospital, the primary care trust and macmillan nurses. The pilot survey guided the design of the booklet, its content and user friendly design.
Results The coordinator developed the toolkit. This formed a patient held record, which as a communication tool helps staff dicuss life limiting illnesses with patients and families. Patients relate the story of their illness and record it in their toolkit, reassured that professionals may understand more clearly what their priorities of care might be.
It includes relevant medical information. Patients find this makes consultations easier as information does not have to be remembered burt simply read from the toolkit. Patients record changes in their views whenever they wish.
Samples of the toolkit were distributed among user groups, with a feedback questionnaire. Data collected demonstrated approval for the project.
It has now been printed and staff training undertaken.
Conclusions Audit demonstrated very quickly, cheaply and effectively improved communication. It could be adapted for other countries too.
- Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.