Background The Hospice Support Assistant (HSA) role is a new and innovative idea to reach as many patients as possible in the community who may need psychological support and non-pharmacological symptom management. This is a three year pilot project funded by the hospice with one year funding provided by the local CCGs.
Aims Initially the role was to be based in the community supporting patients in a non-pharmacological way, focusing on Fatigue, Anxiety and Breathlessness, also to offer psychological support to family/loved ones as well as the patient. We have adapted and used a Goal Attainment Scaling system to measure patients’ ability and needs throughout our intervention.
Method Data is currently being extracted, looking at referrals made initially, how many visits made, what interventions are used and patient/relative feedback forms (iWantGreatCare) also if this increased the number of patients achieving their preferred place of care/death.
Implementation Since the role went live the realisation has been that there is a lot more involved than originally thought e.g. social intervention, listening, sign-posting, family/loved one involvement, distraction therapy, mental stimulation, liaising with CNSs and other hospice teams as well as external support agencies.
Evaluation The role is developing well and the caseloads are increasing, feedback from patients so far is positive. Training is ongoing with upcoming opportunities to further build the knowledge and skills already gained.