Strong communication and collaboration between primary care services and hospice teams is crucial in ensuring individuals with palliative and End of Life Care (EoLC) needs are effectively and optimally cared for.
Improve communication, understanding and collaborative working between Hospice Community Team and Primary Health Care Team (PHCT).
To determine a simple outcome effective way to strengthen and improve such interaction.
Method Three GP practices participated. Two Informal education sessions for each practice for GPs, DNs and other clinical staff. One session for practice administration teams was held, at only one practice (participants N = 42, avg per session 7).
Delivery time, structure and method were offered flexibly and facilitated by 1 or 2 Community Nurse Specialists +/- Hospice Consultant. At the start of sessions the participants decided the subjects/areas covered, setting the agenda to meet their specific needs. Areas covered included anti-emetic therapy, prescribing at EOL, uses of steroids in palliative care, DNACPR discussions. For administration staff the focus was on highlighting the barriers and difficulties patients and carers face when interacting with primary care teams.
Evaluation 99% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed the session was worthwhile and would recommend the session. It appears to have helped improve working relationships, increasing effectiveness, frequency and attendance at palliative care meetings.
Application to hospice practice Improved collaborative working between PHCT and the hospice community team, increased sharing of knowledge and best practice, encouraging improved care for those with complex palliative problems and enhancing communication with patients and carers.
Recommendations This project confirmed an informal approach to information sharing can be effective in improving collaboration between PHCT and hospice community team. This integration of hospice community team sharing as part of regular PHCT MDT meetings should be considered as a regular event in practice. Ongoing sessions with formal effectiveness and cost evaluation would further support this method.
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