Background Much research has been conducted on the psychological implications of caring for family members with dementia (Watson, Tatangelo, McCabe, 2018). Support for carers may enhance the quality of care they provide and may reduce their distress (Abreu, Rodrigues, Sequeira et al, 2018). The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) identifies assessment of carers’ psychological needs and interventions to address these needs as important aspects of care provision for people with dementia (NICE, 2010).
Aims To evaluate our hospice’s compliance with NICE Guidelines on support for carers of dementia patients.
Methods We examined the Integrated Palliative Outcomes Scales (iPOS) of all patients on our inpatient and community caseloads with a primary diagnosis of ‘dementia’ to assess how many had a score completed for the ‘family anxiety’ question and whether those who had severe or overwhelming anxiety had an offer of formal support.
Results Only 33% of patients had an iPOS ‘family anxiety’ score completed. Of those with severe or overwhelming anxiety, 78% were offered formal support.
Conclusion Evaluation of our practice shows that while we offered support to the majority of those who were identified as needing it, only a third of carers’ needs were assessed at the outset using the iPOS. It may be that a higher proportion of carers had their needs assessed informally as part of Multi-Disciplinary Team assessments and this was not captured in the audit data. To ensure carers’ needs are assessed consistently, we plan to educate staff regarding the importance of completing the ‘family anxiety’ question on iPOS, and are going on to complete a more detailed carers’ assessment and offer of formal support if needed
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