Historically the predominant case mix for Day Care was elderly patients, those in their last year of life and with primarily a cancer diagnosis.
In 2011 we reviewed how services could be provided countywide for a rural county population circa 712,000 (1) that would assist patients earlier in their palliative journey, those with non cancer diagnosis and attract younger patients. We aimed to increase the capacity to support more patients within existing resources and deliver a wider range of therapeutic interventions.
To achieve accessibility for the maximum number of patients, services were established in eight different locations including providing therapy within GP practices and community halls, and also inreaching to meet the needs of dementia patients in a nursing home setting.
Whilst the philosophy was unchanged, the service was redesigned and continues to develop responsively and with flexibility. A diverse range of therapeutic interventions are available and a plan of care is tailored to meet the individual patient and carer needs following assessment. New volunteer roles with specific profiles were developed to augment the nursing staff. The community engagement officer increases awareness to diverse and often hard to reach groups.
Evidence from patient reported outcome measures, piloting and evaluation enable creative and on going service design to meet emerging needs. Structured training programmes for staff and volunteers continue.
Increased access to the service is evidenced by data collection, demonstrating a 51% increase countywide, with 70% increase of 18-64 age group and 74% increase in non cancer patients, demonstrating greater opportunities for those with life limiting illnesses to be supported to reach their full potential.
This service will be sustained and enhanced by working in partnership, signposting, and through additional innovation such as commissioned Carers Assessment.
Lincolnshire Research Observatory.
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