Background Patients living in Jaywick, Essex, live in the most deprived neighbourhood in the UK. Jaywick has a high elderly population and high rates of poverty, deprivation and low socioeconomic status (SES) (Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, 2019). It is proven that those in low SES settings are more likely to have emergency hospital admissions in last months of life and are less likely to die at home (Hospice UK, 2021). The COVID-19 pandemic has strained hospice services across the country with increase in demand (Kates, Gerolamo & Pogorzelska-Maziarz, 2021, Public Health Nurs. 38: 459) and changes to workforce delivery to protect the most vulnerable patients (Tseng, Wu, Ku et al., 2020. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 75: e128), the pandemic has added difficulty in reaching and providing HitH care to patients in Jaywick.
Aim(s) St Helena Hospice aimed to increase the number of patients living in Jaywick to access hospice in the home specialist palliative care support and to also increase the amount of clinical contacts with each patient by introducing a hybrid model of working, which would include telephone and virtual assessments and reducing number of face-to-face home visits.
Methods We obtained statistics from our health database of HitH patients living in the CO15 2 postcode and created a table of the number of patients accessing hospice in home support and the number of clinical contacts those patients received and categorised these per annum over a period of 3 years.
Results Each year over the last 3 years, we supported 10 more patients in the CO15 2 post code, and there were 100 more clinical contacts with each year. The clinical contacts included face to face, telephone and virtual assessments made by the HitH team.
Conclusions The study shows the value of hybrid working as a means for hospice clinicians to reach to wider populations, included those living in deprivation. The results also demonstrated that hybrid working is not just a model used during the COVID-19 pandemic but can be adopted into hospice policy across the nation (Open Access Government, 2021).
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