Background Feedback from patients indicated that they were often seen by multiple different people after referral to the hospice, with duplication of processes. To address this, the hospice wanted to develop a ‘single point of access’ for patients and clients, to reduce duplication and provide more co-coordinated care for our patients. Part of this included developing a single assessment form for initial patient contact with the hospice.
Aim The primary aim was to develop a single assessment process for patients for their first point of contact with the hospice, in order to streamline and improve patient care and experience.
Methods A ‘task to finish’ group was set up in February 2017 to review the hospice referral form, and develop a single assessment process to be used for patient referrals. The group consisted of representatives from different departments within the hospice, including an independent group member from Healthwatch and a critical friend. A new referral form was developed with basic demographic details, including patient consent, any safety concerns, and six main questions (an initial question of ‘what has prompted you to phone today’ and questions covering physical, social, psychological, spiritual and functional domains). After a successful pilot with several local GP surgeries, and hospital nurse specialists, it was introduced to all referrers in April 2018. Referrals now come in to a dedicated co-ordination centre via telephone, email or the electronic notes system.
Results Feedback about the new referral form has been good. Referral information is of a higher quality, particularly for telephone referrals. The process for patients is more streamlined with less duplication.
Conclusion Higher quality information is obtained from the referrer, which supports MDT decision making over who is the most appropriate first point of contact. Patient experience of the hospice is improved.
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