Background Much has been written in the past year about inequalities in palliative care. Patients with severe mental illness often present late with an advanced diagnosis for which palliative care is the only option (Ellison, 2008). Research in this area is lacking, no statistical evidence exists as to numbers of patients requiring collaboration from both specialties (Addington-Hall, 2000). A recent American study highlighted barriers present when caring for mental health patients with palliative care needs; as a result this study called for greater collaboration between palliative care and mental health specialties (Morgan, 2016). However, there is very little research to highlight the experience of collaboration between these two specialties.
Aim As a result this scoping session aims to examine the working relationships between mental health and palliative care health care professionals (HCPs) when caring for patients with severe mental illness and also a palliative care diagnosis. The session wants to understand both positive and negative experiences of collaboration in order to highlight the support these patients receive.
Method A scoping session is due to take place on 22 June. 15 HCPs from various palliative care settings and 15 HCPs from mental health settings having been invited. On arrival all participants will be asked to fill in a questionnaire. Following presentations from both specialties there will be mixed group work. Facilitators within the groups will gather information through various means to add weight to the questionnaire.
Conclusion Everyone has a right to high standards of palliative care. This scoping session aims to explore how collaboration is working and if there are gaps or barriers which prevent cohesive working. This session aims to be responsive to issues highlighted and to provide recommendation for improved future collaborative practice, with the ultimate goal of reducing inequalities in care experienced by this group of patients.
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