Background Leeds have benefited from a bespoke palliative care ambulance service since 2007 when work done with Marie Curie and the “Delivering Choice” programme highlighted the need for the service.
Early consultation with stakeholders identified that a lack of appropriate ambulance transport can be one of the factors that restricts or prevents the fulfilment of a patient's previously expressed wish to die in the place of their choice.
Aim The aim of the dedicated palliative care ambulance service is to provide flexible, prompt, safe and comfortable transport to patients moving to a place of their choice towards the end of life and to those needing palliative treatments and investigations.
Method The Hospital Specialist Palliative Care Team, Leeds Commissioners, Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) Leeds Hospices and Leeds Community Health worked closely together at a local level to improve the present palliative care ambulance service.
Leeds commissioners have now funded a second ambulance to run on weekdays, covering the busiest times and new dedicated crews have been recruited and trained by the local hospice.
Results This service will benefit patients, carers, healthcare professionals and healthcare providers by:
Helping patients achieve their choice for place of care by reducing delays in discharge caused by restrictions to transport
Ensuring appropriately trained ambulance personnel will provide quality care services to patients at the end of life during transportation
Providing effective ways of working with professionals
Providing better coordination and connectivity between hospital, hospice, community and ambulance services
Conclusion In providing patients with choice in place of care at the end of life, whilst improving service provision, it is expected that the number of patients dying at home will increase. Future plans are to monitor present demand with a view to expanding the service further to support the transfer of palliative patients in Leeds.
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