Background While ACP is widely accepted as a useful tool for achieving patients’ wishes at the end of life, there are many obstacles to implementing it. One obstacle is lack of health professionals’ time.
In the hope of addressing this problem, we obtained a grant in 2012/13 to pilot training and operational systems for volunteer-facilitated ACP. In January 2015 we commenced a further grant-funded project to implement an ongoing volunteer-facilitated service.
Aim The aim of the project is to increase awareness and uptake of ACP in the county of Pembrokeshire, among both patient groups and healthy individuals.
Methods We will recruit and train people 2 groups of people: those who will volunteer as part of our service, and others who are already volunteering for other services and wish to add facilitation of ACP to their work.
Once trained, both groups with be supported to work with both patients and healthy members of the public by a project co-ordinator with a background in social care, mental health and learning difficulties. A senior nurse experienced in acute and end-of-life care will provide clinical support and advice.
Results Our learning curve has been, and still is, steep. At ACPEL 2015 we will report on our experiences and findings during the pilot project and the first 8 months of the current one.
The project has already generated significant interest from individuals and potential partner organisations including care homes, GP practices, acute wards, and a wide range of voluntary organisations.
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