Background Carers play a vital role in supporting patients at end-of-life (EOL) enabling care at home and preventing hospital (re)admission. EOL care policy promotes comprehensive person-centred assessment and support for carers, but without a clear implementation strategy this remains an aspiration.
Aims (1) To develop recommendations for organisational structures and processes required for implementation of comprehensive person-centred assessment and support for carers in EOL practice. (2) To identify the structures and processes currently in place to achieve assessment and support for carers of patients receiving EOL care through UK hospice organisations.
Methods (1) Ten recommendations were constructed from the findings of secondary analysis of existing research data and extensive expert and stakeholder consultation. (2) All hospices providing adult services within Hospice UK’s membership (n=200) were eligible to participate in a cross-sectional survey between March and June 2018.
Results An organisational survey was developed to assess hospice provision against the 10 national recommendations published by Hospice UK (2018) for organisational change needed to deliver current EOL care policy guidance for comprehensive, person-centred assessment and support for family carers (Ewing & Grande, 2018). 115 (58%) hospices responded to the survey. 37% used a formal carer assessment process; 13% reported a specific action plan for carers. Other recommendations met at a higher rate, included recording demographic carer data (95%) and consistent identification of carers within hospices (87%). Less frequently met were monitoring and auditing of carer support (31%), and consistent storage of carer-specific data (18%). Results for each recommendation will be presented.
Discussion Most organisations met recommendations for structures and processes to achieve assessment and support for carers, although comprehensiveness of provision varied, and formal assessment provision occurred at a low rate.
Conclusion Some recommendations are well established in UK hospices, though particular areas for improvement include the use of person-centred processes specific to carers: formal assessment, action plans, recording processes and monitoring systems.
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