Background At the beginning of the COVID–19 pandemic, our hospice had to close its day centre. Through patient feedback and referrals analysis, we identified a need to bridge the gap between those people with ‘uncomplicated’ life-limiting illness who were being supported in the community and unable to access the usual supports such as day hospice and direct access to hospice nursing support. This led to us introducing a Community Clinical Lead.
Aims The initial aims of the role were to act as a bridge between the District Nurses and our local Specialist Palliative Care Team (who are employed by our local acute trust), to support patients in their own home in a holistic manner (National Palliative and End of Life Care Partnership, 2021) and to help people to live with their illness (Hospice UK, 2015). The role also enabled a smoother transition between hospice services when patients needed this.
Methods A band 6 role was established with money from a charitable donation. Local primary care services were informed of the role and how to refer. Governance processes were established internally and with our specialist palliative care colleagues.
Results Monitoring of IPOS and RAG showed that when things were fluctuating, we were responding to the needs of the individual. Universally positive feedback was received from users and fellow professionals. [See Figure 1].
Conclusion We have quickly established the benefits of this role. Alongside the direct impact for patients, there have been indirect benefits such as education/training for district nursing teams. Despite the challenging times, most referrals have been from external teams, demonstrating the impact locally. Our future plans include introducing more robust outcome measures; formalising the caseload reviews with the Specialist Palliative Care team; and conducting a full-service review including cost-analysis, to ensure continued service development.
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