Background St Leonard’s Hospice were approached by the local health and care system to lead the response and co-ordination of care for those people requiring end-of-life care in the community at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In response we worked with the local NHS Hospital Trust to develop and provide an urgent community service and Single Point of Coordination that responded to patient need.
Aim To ensure that those patients that required end-of-life care in the community received a co-ordinated local expert response.
Methods In wave 1 of the pandemic, government directive required patients to be rapidly and urgently discharged from hospital. Clinical pathways were redesigned to ensure that patients who needed to be diverted away from acute hospital settings received a responsive end-of-life service. A Single Point of Coordination was initiated to ensure that patients, families and health and care professionals had access to a single telephone number for advice, care and contact.
Results The urgent community team response received positive patient and family feedback in response to the service being mobilised. A coordinated approach resulted in improved expert experience for patients and families when it is most needed. The Single Point of Coordination continues to take an average of 45 calls per day totally up to 6000 calls over a six-month period through 19/20. Patients were able to die with family members present. No patients referred to the service were inappropriately admitted to hospital.
Conclusion Evaluation of the services are ongoing in response to maintaining business continuity. Following positive feedback from patients and key stakeholders we have continued to provide Single Point of Coordination to serve the local population in line with the ‘Ambitions for Palliative and End of Life Care’ (National Palliative and End of Life Care Partnership, 2021).
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