Background Advances in medicine means many young adults (YA) in Scotland with a life-limiting condition are living into adulthood (Fraser, Jarvis, Moran, et al., 2015; McLaughlin & Robb, 2018; McLaughlin, Marosi, Robb, 2020). However, despite this growing trend, access to adult palliative care services is variable (Scottish University Insight Institute, 2019) with reluctance from YAs and professionals to engage (Lidstone, 2013). We explored and evaluated staff experience in caring for a YA within an adult palliative setting.
Aim(s) To explore and evaluate the lived experience of the inpatient unit team caring for a YA during an admission.
Methods Following a young adult admission all staff involved were invited to attend a facilitated reflective discussion to explore their thoughts, feelings and experiences. Questions for reflection were sent in advance of the meeting.
Results Despite the misconceptions pre-admission, the lived experience of physically caring for a young adult offered an entirely different lens and demonstrated the power of human contact in establishing rapport and trust. The admission also afforded insight into the importance of acknowledging the young adult as an expert in their own care and that when staff negotiated and accommodated this the difference observed was:
‘I could really feel that the young adult felt physically and emotionally safe.’
The admission also offered an appreciation that the team already had transferable skills, confidence and experience to carry out this care. The reflection of the last team within the hospice to care for a young adult highlighted:
‘A mountain has been climbed; the final piece of the jigsaw is in place’.
Conclusions Evaluation challenges the misconception that adult hospices have nothing to offer young adults with palliative care needs. It also affirms that the skills the team already have are transferable.
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