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Professional user views of a specialist palliative care service
  1. Senior Management Team
  1. St. Catherines Hospice, West Sussex, UK


Introduction The End of Life Care Strategy promotes a whole systems approach to care at the end of life. Following significant service changes (including an increase in catchment area due to the closure of another local provider, and the introduction of 7/7 working and ‘hands-on’ nursing care in the community) since 2009 St Catherine's Hospice conducted a professional users' survey in early 2011.

19 health and social care professionals (a mix of doctors (mostly GPs), nurses, therapists and a spiritual leader) who work across the geographical area where St Catherine's Hospice provide specialist palliative care participated in semi-structured telephone interviews.

The survey focused on the working relationship with the hospice, and any suggestions for improvement or future development.

Discussion Participants viewed the overall experience of working with the hospice as positive and the service was considered to enhance care for people at the end of their lives both through direct care provided and by supporting other professionals.

Participants cited the introduction of hands-on nursing as particularly positive – enabling increased shared care between NHS providers and the hospice. Communication with and response from the hospice were generally reported to be good particularly in urgent situations although some areas for improvement were noted. Those who had worked with the previous provider, reported that they had been anxious about St Catherine's taking over the service but their anxieties had not been realised.

There was no apparent dissimilarity between the views of different professional groups and all seemed to be very willing to extend and build on opportunities for working together. There were varying on views on the role of the hospice – and of other professionals – in providing more ‘generalist’ end of life care.

Many recommendations emerged for further exploration and action and these will be highlighted in the presentation.

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