Background Hospice referrals for inpatient unit (IPU) admissions are discussed daily by the hospice medical and nursing teams, with decisions to admit based on the referral information and multidisciplinary team decision-making. The referring teams were previously not directly involved in these decisions. Our recent development was the introduction of virtual meetings, aiming to involve the referring community and hospital palliative care teams to the daily decision making process regarding inpatient bed allocation at our hospice.
The new initiative started in February 2022 as Microsoft (MS) Teams meetings coordinated by the patient liaison nurse. Attending members were: hospice team, allied health professionals, social workers and community and hospital specialist palliative care (SPC) teams.
The format was kept the same (discussion regarding advice lines calls, all referrals, agreeing the number of beds offered and the patients to be allocated to these beds). The change was to have active input (via MS Teams link) from the referring teams and up-to-date information about the referred patients.
Aims To evaluate if the new model of meetings integrating the community and hospital SPC teams would change perception of fairness and equitable use of beds in our hospice IPU.
Methods A short evaluation questionnaire was sent to the participating teams with a combination of open/closed questions and opportunity for comments.
Results The respondents said the service has improved the admission process, the patients are discussed in enough detail to enable prioritisation, decisions about admissions are fair and consistent, the meetings are extremely beneficial, the view of each team is always respected and all teams work well together to ensure the most appropriate patient is admitted.
Conclusion This new model of collaborative working has proven beneficial for prioritisation of hospice referrals in real time and has also contributed to an improvement in communication and team work.
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