Introduction This study is part of a wider evaluation of a pilot to improve the experience of young adults with life-limiting conditions as they transition to adult services. The project was funded by Together for Short Lives. We developed a multidisciplinary outpatient clinic supporting young people aged 16–25 with life-limiting conditions, based in an adult hospice. Adult palliative care multidisciplinary teams (MDT) have many of the transferable skills and resources required to meet the needs of young adults with life-limiting conditions. By exploring the clinical needs encountered by the team in this project, we hope to improve palliative clinicians’ confidence in their ability to meet those needs, and to highlight areas where practice may need to be adapted or developed.
Methods The Transition Team recorded in-depth team reflections around activity and learning over a period of 12 months between March 2019 and March 2020. The reflections concerning all clinical interactions with 7 patients were collated and analysed for themes. The themes were then developed alongside literature and expert opinion to form recommendations for other adult palliative care teams who wish to support young adults.
Results Overall, three major themes were identified from the team reflections: Clinical learning, Carer support, and Relationships with other clinicians.
The subthemes within clinical learning were:
Role in identifying unmet needs and signposting to other services
Identifying dying in patients with long term disability
Safe management of complex symptoms when multiple teams are involved
Anticipatory care planning.
Recommendations were developed highlighting areas where additional training and research are needed as well as areas to prioritise in service development.
Conclusions Reflecting on clinical interactions with young adults with life-limiting conditions enabled the project team to identify priorities for learning and further development of services for this patient group.
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