Palliative and End of Life Care: Focus on Identification

Michelle Church, Improvement Advisor, reflects on our recent learning event, which explored ways of identifying people who could benefit from a palliative approach to their care.

On 31st May 2018, test site participants from six health and social care partnerships (HSCPs) and key delivery partners across Scotland joined the Living Well in Communities team to learn and share knowledge about tools that can support identification of people who could benefit from a palliative approach to their care.

Making the case for early identification

Kirsty Boyd, consultant and lecturer in Palliative Medicine, talked about the many benefits of earlier identification:

  • Helps people say what matters to them.
  • Increases the opportunity for people to participate in decision-making.
  • Reduces the risk of later regrets and poor outcomes.
  • Gives people time for planning ahead, resulting in fewer crises.
  • Reduces unplanned admissions of low benefit.
  • Encourages medication review and treatment planning.
  • Improves continuity and coordination of care by sharing information.

 How can we do earlier identification?

Our national clinical leads, Dr Paul Baughan and Sandra Campbell, gave an overview of the visual resource the LWiC team have developed to help compare different identification tools that are currently used in Scotland. Sandra did a before and after survey of how aware and confident participants were about the variety of tools.

How did we mobilise knowledge?

Experts from across the UK shared their tools, knowledge and experience of doing identification. People got the chance to participate in interactive workshops looking at the tools that a number of palliative care test sites. Some insights from the sessions are included below:

Anticipal and eFI electronic tools

FAST and PPP tools

PPS and SPAR Tools

SPICT4ALL and carers identification

What did people think of the event?

People felt that they had learnt about why, when and how to use different tools to support identification and inform practice. People really liked that they had the chance to network with experts and colleagues.

Overwhelmingly, the take home message was that earlier identification and communication is key to supporting those who would benefit from a palliative approach to their care.

What did you likeTake home message

What next?

HSCP palliative care test sites are now using the comparator to consider what tools will benefit local people and services and how people identified can be supported. This work will contribute to the vision that by 2021 everyone who could benefit from palliative care will have access to it and will support the Realistic Medicine ambition of shared decision-making and a personalised approach to care.

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Meet Gemma Stewart!

Gemma Stewart b&wI would like to introduce myself as a new project officer for the Living Well in Communities team.

I will initially be assisting with establishing a programme of work LWiC are undertaking to support the health and social care partnerships in the North of Scotland.

This is an exciting new role for me in an established team, where I know I will be given the opportunity to learn lots and hopefully make a difference at the same time.

I have quite a varied work history, but one I think that has given me good experience and learning which I can bring to this role. I initially trained as a Physiotherapist and worked for a few years in NHS England in both acute and outpatient settings. This has given me a great insight into the challenges services and clinicians face on a day-to-day basis to support patients, their families and carers.

Having taken a break to explore the travel bug, I settled in Scotland where I have held office roles in both the private and third sector. For the last two and a half years I have been working in Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s ihub, initially as an administrative officer and then project officer for the Tailored and Responsive Improvement Support team. Here I have been largely responsible for managing the ihub associates framework agreement, and more recently working on the 90-day innovation cycle to explore quality management systems in health and social care in Scotland. I hope to be able to bring the valuable skills I have developed in these roles to my new position.

In the short time that I have been a member of the LWiC team, I have been struck by the enthusiasm and drive of the whole team, who have a multitude of varied skills and experiences behind them. There is a real passion for the work they undertake and an awareness that although there may be challenges ahead, by working together with our partners and communicating clearly these can be overcome.

I am incredibly excited to be a part of this team and to have the opportunity to make a difference and support people to live well for longer at home or in a homely setting.

If you have any questions please do get in touch.