Introduction Care homes (CHs) play a vital role in the delivery of care towards the end of life (National Institute for Health Research 2017; Public Health England 2017) yet little is known about specialist palliative care (SPC) support in this setting.
Aim To increase understanding of how SPC services support adult CHs in England and identify from a SPC provider perspective the challenges and enablers to good quality SPC.
Method SPC services working directly with CHs in the community in England were invited to complete an online survey. Content analysis enabled qualitative data to be described.
Results 108 services participated. A range of challenges were identified including CH staff turnover lack of funding and retention of CH staff knowledge skills and competency.
Proposed ways to reduce/resolve challenges included:
Increased commissioning of SPC staff to work directly with CHs particularly to provide education/training
Strategic centralised and longer–term approaches to funding to facilitate continuity of support to CHs
Mandatory SPC core competencies and accessible training for CH staff to facilitate the prioritisation and uptake of training
Increased collaboration within and across organisations including regulators commissioners and providers of SPC CH and GP services to increase consistency and quality of SPC education and resident care
Conclusions The data are of national relevance and enhances our understanding of the challenges and potential enablers to CH support from a SPC provider perspective. Increased funding and cross-organisational collaboration are thought to be important instruments for change. The views of others including CH staff should be sought.
. National Institute for Health Research. Advancing care – Research with care homes 2017. Available at: https://www.dc.nihr.ac.uk/themed-reviews/care-home-research.htm [Accessed: 29th May 2018]
. Public Health England. Briefing 1 – Care home bed provision and potential end of life care need in people aged 75 or older in England2017. Available at: http://www.endoflifecareintelligence.org.uk/resources/publications/carehomes [Accessed: 29th May 2018]
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