Article Text

Download PDFPDF

P-40 The access team: traversing routes into evolving hospice care services
  1. Becky Chaddock,
  2. Helen Gray,
  3. Kate Crichton,
  4. Emma Rutherford,
  5. Lesley Shiell and
  6. Tracy Hindle
  1. St Columba’s Hospice, Edinburgh, UK


The hospice strategy 2020 committed to reshaping services to provide easier access to help and support as many people as possible with life-limiting illness. This was implemented during COVID-19 by establishing the Access Team; a single point of contact for all clinical services. The team has reshaped access to St Columba’s hospice care at the front door:

  • Triage referrals to all hospice services and respond to advice calls from professionals, patients and families.

  • Respond by phone to all referrals within 48 hours (urgent)/7 days (routine) (KPIs) and keep referrers updated.

  • Provide initial assessment and support from first contact.

  • Manage all referrals and coordinate admissions to inpatient beds.

  • Provide same day response for urgent unscheduled advice requests from patients/families, community/acute health and social care colleagues; and,

  • Established stronger and more collaborative links with wider palliative care colleagues.

Establishing a single point of contact for all hospice services has widened access to evolving hospice care. The team have evolved year on year in line with increased demands on hospice services and strategy:

  • Increased triage to evolving hospice services, now comprising: Hospice at Home (incorporating – virtual ward, care at home, two locality community teams), Allied Health Professionals, Family Support Team, Wellbeing Service, Compassionate Neighbours service, and Inpatient Unit.

  • 26% increase in new referrals over three years.

  • Increased unscheduled advice calls (primarily from patients/families for physical symptom control advice and social support issues).

  • Proactive carers’ support and social work at the hospice front door.

The Access service has developed within a context of global, national and locally emerging need, providing agile and responsive support to health and social care colleagues, and directly supporting patients and their families by telephone. This has been managed through teamwork and communication.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.