Background During the Covid-19 pandemic, remote consultations were widely adopted. However, the evidence base is limited and the role in palliative care settings remains to be established.1
At Royal Trinity Hospice, the majority of face-to-face community visits changed to telephone consultations from March 2020. The primary aim of this service evaluation was to assess patient and staff satisfaction with telephone consultations.
Methods Patients (n=181) and staff (n=32) who participated in telephone consultations between 1st August and 30th November were identified from electronic patient records. Questionnaires were sent to staff by email and to patients by email or post. Questionnaires were anonymised and analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis.
Results Response rates were 20% for patients and 34% for staff. Of the patient questionnaires, 22% were completed by carers.
Overall, 31% of patients reported that they had good technology skills. Only one patient (3%) experienced technical difficulties, whereas 84% felt comfortable with the convenience and experience of telephone consultations. Only 24% of patients preferred telephone to face-to-face consultations.
A higher proportion of staff expressed confidencein use of technology (73%). Staff satisfaction with telephone consultations was high - including effectiveness (73%), convenience (64%), rapport building (73%) and safe assessment (64%).
Half of patients and 90% of staff reported situations in which telephone consultations were not appropriate (e.g. patients with cognitive or sensory impairments). Staff expressed more positive views than patients regarding future use of video consultations.
Key themes from analysis of qualitative data included telephone consultations as a positive method of communication, limitations for those with cognitive or sensory impairments, and a preference for face-to-face consultations.
Conclusions This project demonstrated high levels of patient and staff satisfaction with telephone consultations. Sensory and cognitive impairments were identified as barriers. This project continues to inform the remodelling of Hospice community services.
Jess M, et al.
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