Background Northumbria Healthcare NHS FT has developed a novel partnership approach with Marie Curie to improve hospital liaison palliative care. This has increased the number of palliative care nursing staff from 2.8 to 9 WTE posts. This service expansion has coincided with the opening of Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital (NSECH). NSECH has been highlighted by NHS England as an example of good practice and, in line with the five year forward view,1 may be replicated in other areas of the country. The vision is to provide emergency care within NSECH and ongoing, non-acute, care on ‘base-site’ hospitals. It is imperative to assess the impact of such a development on the development of palliative care services.
Design This service evaluation considered patient characteristics and outcome for patients seen in NSECH over 6 months following its opening. Data were extracted from an existing palliative care database.
Results 492 patients were seen, with 1232 face to face patient contacts.
At first assessment 65% were in an unstable phase of illness; 24% were deteriorating and 10% were terminally ill.
Mean performance status (KPS) was 39%.
66% of patients had a malignancy; 34% had non-malignant disease.
27% of patients were discharged home, 28% of patients died and 23% were transferred to a palliative care unit.
Median duration of episode of care was 1 day; the mean was 3 days (range 0–157 days).
Discussion The opening of NSECH has transformed the hospital palliative care liaison team. The provision of palliative care within an acute, emergency care hospital provides particular challenges, including acute care for patients who are dying, and the rapid discharge of patients with complex needs and high dependency. Partnership working with an acute trust has enabled this rapid development in service in an emerging area of palliative care provision.
. http://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/futurenhs/ Accessed on 11/11/2016