Background The need to facilitate dying patients spending time in their preferred place of care (PPC) was highlighted in the Department of Health’s Review of Choice in End of Life Care (2015). The Fast Track process (FT) ensures patients with a rapidly deteriorating condition can be discharged to their PPC in a timely manner with the appropriate support.
Aim To identify and evaluate delays in the FT process at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust (ESTH).
Method A previous FT audit from April 2014-March 2015 identified 61 patients who died before being discharged to their PPC. Their clinical notes were obtained and data was collected on modifiable delays.
Results Forty-seven complete sets of notes were obtained. The most significant delay was in completing and sending FT paperwork (30/47). Paperwork was not started for 3 patients and incomplete for 7 patients without explanation. Paperwork took 2–4 days to complete for 5 patients, 5–7 days for 12 patients and >8 days for 2 patients.
Despite healthcare professionals identifying a patient was dying or deteriorating, a delay in decision to commence FT affected 20/47 patients. The decision to FT took 1–2 days for 3 patients, 3–4 days for 8 patients, and >8 days for 9 patients.
Sudden unexpected death or deterioration was a factor in 8 patients. Family/patient indecision affected 8 patients. Delays within community services after funding was approved affected 5 patients. One patient had funding initially declined but agreed subsequently.
Conclusion The most significant modifiable delays were in completing FT paperwork and in decision-making concerning FT. To reduce these delays, FT paperwork on the intranet has been reorganised, new prompts in the form of a sticker have been introduced and there is continuing education of clinical teams on decision making and FT discharge.
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