Introduction In October 2019 within the acute hospital on the Isle of Wight we saw an increase in patients choosing to die in hospital if they were in the last days of life. This equated to 23% of the palliative and end-of-life care teams caseload and while this was recognised we also identified a consistent number of patients dying in the emergency department, CCU and ICU that were in the last hours to last day of life and had not been offered alternative preferred places of care due to high acuity needs.
Aim This resulted in a bold case being put forward to develop a 3-6 bedded nurse- led end-of-life care unit.
Method The proposal was supported as a pilot, underpinned by working with key partners which included Mountbatten Isle of Wight. Referrals are made to the IPET team who assess; if appropriate and in agreement with medical team, patient and family, then transfer to the Wellow Unit. The Unit is managed by an experienced palliative care sister and overseen by the consultant nurses and IPET team.
Outcomes On average the Wellow Unit cares for 34 patients per month and in January 2021 at the height of the second wave of COVID-19 we cared for 64 patients. In total over the last 12 months the unit has cared for 320 patients. After a successful 12 months of being in place and increasing beds to meet COVID-19 demand in 2020-21, the unit has now been made permanent.
Conclusion This development rightfully challenged this partnership working which ultimately strengthened the position we now find ourselves in. In sharing knowledge, skills and workforce resources we are now in a position to consistently meet the needs of the dying patient in the acute hospital.
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