Background UK policy and guidance frequently refers to respite care as a key factor in supporting carers. (NICE, 2004; Department of Health, 2005) However, little is known about respite care in palliative and end of life care and the role of hospices in providing respite care. (Wolkowski & Carr, 2017; Vandepitte et al., 2016; Wolkowski et al., 2010). Dove House Hospice (DHH) in Hull provides respite care. Our observation is that the needs of both the patient and carer are frequently complex and patients are often highly dependent, with a high level of nursing and sometimes medical needs.
Aims To increase our understanding of the characteristics of respite care patients and carers with a view to articulating the need for hospice respite care, its benefits and potential benefits.
Methods A retrospective audit of records of respite care patients (2015–2016) was carried out. A simple data collection tool, organised on a Microsoft Excel spread sheet was used to extract and analyse data. Data collected included demographic and patient characteristics, diagnosis and condition background, referral/admission details, living arrangements and outcome of admission.
Results The majority of the 90 patients admitted for respite care were male (58%). Complex neurological disorders were the leading background diagnosis (28%) among the 16 diagnosis groups identified. Most referrals were from the community services or from patients and their families. Although most patients, 80%, were discharged home after respite, about 12% died during the course of the respite. As this was a retrospective audit, we could not examine quality of care or impact of the intervention on patients or carers because the information was not available.
Conclusion The audit has enhanced our understanding of respite care patients and their carers. Results from this audit will provide a platform for further enquiry helping to guide and improve service provision.
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