Background The challenges faced by patients and families in the out of hours period are well documented (Marie Curie. The better end of life report. 2022). In attempt to address these, an urgent out of hours service (‘Rapid Response’) was developed in partnership between Marie Curie and the local health and social care partnerships. Working alongside an NHS team, a Marie Curie Registered Nurse and Healthcare Assistant, with expertise in palliative care, are available to respond by telephone or in person to any urgent request for support in the out of hours period. The service launched in June 2022.
Aims To evaluate the impact of the Rapid Response (RR) service for patients and those close to them. To explore what is working well and what could be better.
Methods This evaluation used mixed methods. We interviewed four members of the Rapid Response team and two service users. We also surveyed seventeen professionals, primarily from district nursing, who had worked with the service. We also collected data from home visits and phone calls from a six month period. Qualitative data were thematically analysed and presented alongside descriptive statistics from quantitative data sources.
Results The evaluation indicated that the service provides person-centered support in a timely manner. This, paired with the flexibility of the RR team – which enabled its members to spend as much time as possible with patients – led to both patients and those close to them feeling more informed and reassured. The results of the evaluation also suggest that the service helps to avoid hospital admissions and facilitates preferred place of care and death for their patients.
Conclusions The results of this evaluation indicate that the RR service is meeting its aims, by providing quality care in a timely manner. Further work is needed to raise awareness of the RR service and improve communication with referring services.
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