Background The Care Quality Commission states that the pandemic has highlighted the benefits of local health services collaborating and working in partnership (Care Quality Commission. Better care through collaboration, 2021). Collaboration can improve communication, reduce duplication of effort, improve working relationships and provide a better experience for health service users (Integrated Care and Support Pioneers Programme, 2014). With this in mind, we saw an opportunity for our hospice team to work in partnership with the community respiratory team, as historically there has been limited collaboration between the two.
Aims To improve and promote a respective understanding of each organisation’s services. To promote the benefits of referring patients with advanced lung disease to the hospice at an earlier stage so they can fully benefit from our range of services.
Methods Two hospice physiotherapists were each seconded one day per week to the community respiratory team to assist patients with breathlessness management. The physiotherapists were allocated a caseload and from this they identified those patients who were currently also under the care of the hospice and those who could benefit from a referral.
Results In the first month, a total of 24 patients were seen. Eight patients were known to both teams, whilst 15 were identified as being suitable for referral to the hospice. One patient has not yet met the referral criteria. In November, half yearly results will be presented.
Conclusion This ongoing secondment is demonstrating that a significant proportion of patients under the care of the community respiratory team are suitable for referral to the hospice team. The physiotherapists are encouraging the community respiratory team to refer patients at an earlier stage, to enable patients to benefit from the range of palliative services including specialist symptom control and rehabilitative palliative care. The secondment is also proving to be a valuable way of building better relationships between the teams and a greater understanding of what each team can offer.
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