Background In March 2020 the community focused day services at our hospice were stopped overnight as the UK went into national lockdown due to the pandemic. In April 2022 it was acknowledged, that whilst still balancing Infection Prevention & Control measures (IPC), it was important to re-establish community focused day services within the hospice.
A literature review highlighted:
Rehabilitative palliative care has the potential to reduce disability and reduce dependence on families, health, and social care services.
Prolonged periods of social isolation reduce quality of life.
Aim To implement a rehabilitation programme at our hospice.
Methods A small project group generated: Inclusion/exclusion criteria; Standard Operating Procedure; Project management documentation; Risk assessments; Agreed validated outcome measures.
An eight-week rehabilitation programme was commenced in April 2022. Initial assessment with both a physiotherapist and community medic within hospice outpatients, followed by eight weekly attendances at a group exercise class.
Results Early review of data highlighted:
Patient referrals are often generated too late – supporting the need to liaise directly with external stakeholders.
A static 8-week programme did not offer flexibility and struggled to meet the needs of our patient cohort.
Completion of validated outcome measures were sporadic.
Following this review the priorities generated are:
Significant focus on the promotion of this service to external community and hospital stakeholders, aiming to receive earlier patient referrals.
The programme is now offered as a ‘rolling’ programme.
Outcome measures were reviewed and refined – acknowledgement that specific training around these will be necessary for professionals involved.
This rehabilitation programme and its project plan could be reproducible at other hospices.
Conclusion Rehabilitation in palliative care improves the quality of life for patients. It reduces disability and a group approach aims to address the social isolation that our patient cohort experience.
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