Background Three Acute NHS Trusts were reaching maximum bed capacity by January 2021 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. A local recently refurbished care home was identified as a suitable COVID-19 discharge facility for COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 contact patients whose ceiling of care could be managed in this setting (including oxygen therapy) to help ease bed pressures.
To support primary care and care home staff with symptom control and decision making for those patients who were end-of-life.
To help avoid readmission back into the Acute NHS Trusts who were already at capacity.
To support the relatives of these patients.
Method From January until the end of March 2021 support was provided to the designated care home in the form of:
A weekly virtual ward round. Members on the virtual ward round included a GP, the Lead Nurse from the care home, an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, a paramedic and a Palliative Care Nurse Specialist.
The provision of regular telephone calls throughout the week was dependant on need from the care home.
If there were any particular patients that the care home staff had concerns about a clinical nurse specialist would be available at weekends and bank holidays for advice and support.
Telephone calls to relatives.
Prevention of patients being readmitted to the Acute NHS Trusts following the input from specialist palliative care.
Quality symptom control provided for patients not for escalation.
Quality end-of-life care.
Support for care home staff.
Conclusion The specialist palliative care input made a positive contribution to the care of patients and also to the symptom control of those patients who were end-of-life. Staff felt supported in looking after these patients at a time when care home staff were generally feeling very isolated.
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