Background An individualised approach is the focus of palliative care. It was recognised by staff that achieving genuine holistic care was becoming more difficult, due to the increasing complexity of patient needs. The team decided to create a process for identifying what was important for patients to help achieve their goals.
Aim Offer patients a recognised way to share what is important to them on a daily basis.
Method Background research showed seven local hospices did not have a process like this in place, but anecdotally thought it would provide benefit to patients. An audit of patient and family views provided positive feedback. Postcards have been printed for patients to write what is important to them, on a particular day. These are shared with staff directly or to maintain privacy, special folders have been provided. The process is explained on admission and posters placed in each room to raise awareness for patients and family. Using the postcards is completely voluntary. Staff and rehabilitation volunteers were provided with training regarding collecting postcards and responding to the patients’ needs.
Results One week in:
12/13 patients had access to resources;
13/13 patients had posters in their rooms;
Five patients had used their cards;
Three patients were too unwell;
Remaining patients either didn’t want to engage or planned to do so in the future.
Patients’ words from postcards ‘I would like to see the hairdresser’
‘I would like to wake up alive tomorrow’
Future plans Plans are in place for a template to be created within the patient’s electronic record to document patient needs identified and outcomes. The process will be audited quarterly to identify trends and evaluate patient benefit and evidence psychological care.
Conclusion Patients reported feeling much better for achieving their goals and the postcards offered reassurance their needs wouldn’t be forgotten.
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