Background This project charts a move from traditional inpatient hospice services, with week day specialist community services, towards the creation of a flexible, integrated ‘hospice without walls’ strategy. The steps that were taken to improve care over a five year period, including challenges faced, stepped approach taken and collaboration with other organisations to ensure the establishment of patient focused, integrated and proactive services are outlined.
Aims Hospice without walls aimed to understand and meet the needs of patients, carers and referring health care professionals, shaping finite resources most effectively to meet changing demographic needs and provide responsive multi-disciplinary care in all settings.
Approaches used Developments in a phased manner, incorporating staff and patient vision, improvement and change theory, with evaluation at each implemented stage. This included multi-user feedback, benchmarking service access and formal evaluation through the Marie Curie Delivering Choice Programme.
Outcomes IT and clerical support platforms were developed to remodel services which have included a central referral centre, patient, carer and health professional advice line, seven day a week community service, staff contractual changes, redeployment of consultant staffing into wider community service and extended MDT.
Evaluation has shown improved patient experience, increased inpatient acuity levels, increased and improved community caseload management, more patients remaining in their preferred place of care, strong linkage between the extended hospice and other end of life service providers with reduced hospital admissions at end of life.
Discussion The vision is becoming reality and staff can now see the benefits for patients and carers having a more flexible and responsive service model. Engagement with external agencies has been challenging but CCG revenue funding has now secured sustainable income streams and services.
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