Background The hospice provides support for young people with life-limiting illnesses, central to which is respite care. It is recognised that decisions about respite care provision are of fundamental importance to patients and their families. The referrals team invests time, clinical judgment and combined knowledge to assess each case and agree an allocation of respite care.
A project was undertaken to develop a tool for allocation of respite care. This tool would structure the allocation of respite according to a matrix, allowing the team to provide evidence of equitable allocations, allow direct comparisons between cases and potentially improve time efficiency.
Aims The aim was to develop and validate a simple scoring matrix which could be used to assess each patient’s need for respite and ensure an appropriate allocation of nights.
Approach The tool was developed through a grounded theory approach, refining and developing the tool through testing until an accurate version was created.
Outcomes This project has successfully captured, and defined, the collective knowledge and experience of the referrals panel. This collaborative decision-making process, that has historically relied heavily on personal and professional knowledge, combined with a holistic understanding of the complex lives and needs of patients and their families, has been explored. These tacit aspects have been articulated, defined and quantified in the assessment tool produced.
Application This project represents a step forward, in response to current national agendas that call for hospices to demonstrate quality and equity ahead of GP Commissioning.
Adopting the tool will ensure that allocation continues to be a transparent and equitable process, which is able to be articulated and justified to patients, families and wider colleagues, allowing the organisation to demonstrate accountability and good governance.
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