Background Northumbria Healthcare NHS FT has developed a novel approach to providing emergency care with a new Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital (NSECH), which opened in 2015. This innovative model of care has been highlighted by NHS England as an example of good practice and, in line with the five year forward view1, may be replicated in other areas of the country. Northumbria has developed a partnership with Marie Curie which has enabled successful team expansion. It is imperative to assess the impact of such a development on existing and developing palliative care services.
Design This service evaluation compared the number of patients, number of face to face contacts, duration of episode of care, and the time from referral to first contact, before and after the opening of NSECH. Data were extracted from an existing palliative care database.
Results In 2014, 439 patients were seen, with a total of 830 face to face patient contacts.
In 2016, 873 patients were seen, with a total of 2610 face to face patient contacts.
In 2014 the mean duration of the episode of care was 18 days: in 2016 this was 10 days. In NSECH the median was 1 day; the mean was 3 days (range 0–157 days).
In 2014 69% of patients were seen within 24 hours of referral; in 2016 this had risen to 96%.
Discussion The opening of a NSECH has transformed the model of the hospital palliative care liaison team, with a 99% increase in patients seen, 199% increase in face to face contacts with patients and a significant reduction in the duration of an episode of care. The service now incorporates a hyper-acute palliative care service which has an implication for service development for all trusts considering a similar approach to care.
. http://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/futurenhs/ accessed on 11/11/2016.
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