Background Having access to a community non-medical prescriber (NMP) can enhance patient care by anticipating and responding quickly to symptom control issues at end-of-life and supporting patients to die within their preferred place of care (McGleish, Sivell, Nelson, 2015). With the predicted surge in demand that would overwhelm our local healthcare the end-of-life hub was expanded which included increased NMP capacity.
Aim To meet the predicated demand in services during the COVID-19 pandemic the end-of-life hub would have rapid response clinical nurse specialists (NMPs) available to rapidly assess and provide specialist palliative care advice and symptom control within the community.
Method All of the NMPs within the community team were redeployed to the end-of-life hub. By expanding the team this enabled access to NMPs seven days a week and at the height of the pandemic an NMP was available 24/7 for patients who required rapid assessment. Within the end-of-life hub there was also a quick implementation of access to emergency medications that the NMPs were able to obtain. This enabled the team to provide timely symptom control when accessing medications from a community pharmacy was not available.
Outcome Support was provided to patients who were COVID-19 positive or with a life-limiting illness that required rapid assessment either within their own home and critically those within nursing or residential placements. Assessment was often challenging due to limited information being available and therefore detailed assessment was needed to ensure the best outcome for each individual.
Conclusion The NMPs have now been permanently redeployed to the end-of-life hub and continue to provide cover seven days a week. The role has been critical in supporting patients within the community by enabling rapid assessment, symptom management and allowing patients to die within their preferred place of care.
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