Background Conversations that are ‘honest, informed and timely’ are essential to achieving good end of life and palliative care. The 2011 CENSUS highlighted that 1 million people living in the UK could not speak English well or at all. In 2021–22, 74.7% of people who died within this large, 3 site city based hospital trust had their ‘ethnicity’ identified as White British. This project aims to describe the ‘ethnicity’ and primary spoken language for patients seen by the hospital specialist palliative care team (HSPCT) and establish areas for detailed audit and quality improvement work.
Methods Patients were included if they were referred to the HSPCT and died or were discharged in August 2022. Paper notes of HSPCT activity and electronic clinical systems were reviewed. The whole clinical record was not reviewed. Information collected included the persons’ documented primary language, whether interpreting services were used and ‘ethnicity.’
Results 227 people died or were discharged following referral to the HSPCT in August 2022. 77% had their ‘ethnicity’ identified as White British. The primary languages spoken were Gujarati (4%), Punjabi (2.21%), Hindi (0.44%), Persian (0.44%), Romanian (0.44%), Turkish (0.44%) and English (91.6%). Spoken language information was missing for 1 person. 2 people whose primary language wasn’t English died or were discharged before seeing the HSPCT. For people who spoke a primary language other than English, 15% (2/13) had reviews with an independent interpreter, 77% (9/13) with family members translating and 7.5% (1/13) with a staff member translating.
Conclusions The HSPCT sees people who speak a range of languages but communication must improve with those who speak a primary language other than English. An immediate change in practice has taken place to ensure that the HSPCT can book interpreters directly, removing the step of relying on ward teams to do this.
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