Background Following redesign of palliative care services, four specialist palliative care beds were opened in August 2019 on a ward shared with Haematology. An SOP was developed to guide admissions to the Supportive Care Unit (SCU), prioritised from the advisory caseload as patients with predominantly palliative care needs, requiring regular consultant input.
Aims Prospective audit of SCU admissions during the initial nine-month period from opening in August 2019.
Results Over the initial nine-month period, a total of 85 patients were admitted to SCU with a mean length of stay of 10 days. Of these, 86% (n=72) had a primary cancer diagnosis, compared with 64% of patients under our advisory caseload. Age range was 37–98 years, with a mean age of 67 years. Mean waiting time once listed was 2 days (median 1 day, range 0–32 days). Mean time from referral to the advisory HSPCT to referral to SCU was 5 days (median 1 day, range 0–88 days). Length of stay reduced from a mean of 15 days in month one to 7 days in month six. Patients were most commonly admitted from medical wards (58%), followed by assessment areas (32%) and surgical wards (5%). Four patients were admitted electively; two for blood transfusion and two for paracentesis.
Conclusion Without any additional resource, we have successfully opened a small number of specialist palliative care beds. In September 2020, this increased to eight beds. Informal feedback is positive, and our next objective is to capture formal patient and family feedback. We will also develop processes to facilitate elective admissions for patients already known to palliative care services. It is interesting to note that the proportion of patients with a cancer diagnosis is higher on SCU compared with the advisory HSPCT. Prospective data collection is ongoing to see if this trend continues.
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