What works in care co-ordination in palliative and end of life care

PEOLC evidence bundle coverWe have recently published a resource that reviews the evidence on continuity and care coordination in palliative and end of life care. This blog post gives an overview of the document and its features.

Why focus on care coordination?

Good care co-ordination can help to improve people’s quality of life, right up to the end of life.

The Living Well in Communities team has been working with test sites in Dundee, East Ayrshire, Fife, Glasgow City, and Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnerships to deliver Commitment 1 from the Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework for Action on Palliative and End of Life Care:

We will support Healthcare Improvement Scotland in providing Health and Social Care Partnerships with expertise in testing and implementing improvements to identify those who can benefit from palliative and end of life care and in the co-ordination of their care.”

This work is coming to a close in March 2019.

Exploring the evidence on different approaches

Drawing on the priority practices outlined in the World Health Organization practice brief on continuity and co-ordination of care, we identified six key approaches to continuity and care co-ordination in palliative and end of life care:

  • Early integrated palliative care
  • Collaborative planning of care and shared decision making
  • Case management for people with palliative and end of life care needs
  • Intermediate palliative care at home
  • Technology to support continuity and care coordination
  • Building workforce capacity

Working with the Evidence and Evaluation for Improvement Team, we summarised the available systematic-review level evidence on these approaches.

Presenting the evidence visually

As with our Living Well in Communities with Frailty evidence review, we produced visual summaries for each of the approaches. These provide key information on the different approaches to care coordination, and an introduction to the more detailed evidence summaries. The visual summaries include

  • a brief description of each approach,
  • the rationale behind them,
  • the potential benefits,
  • enablers,
  • brief commentary on the quality of the evidence, and
  • links to further reading and examples of local good practice.

 

Visual summary
Early integrated palliative care visual summary
Case mgmt summary
Case management evidence summary

 

We hope that this document will provide a useful overview of the systematic review-level evidence on key approaches to care co-ordination in palliative and end of life care, and highlight the potential benefits of these approaches.

You can access the review, Continuity and Co-ordination in Palliative and End of Life Care: evidence for what works by clicking on the document image below:

PEOLC evidence bundle cover

 

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The community-based interventions that can make a difference for people with frailty

Cover image

We have recently published a resource that summarises the evidence for different community-based frailty interventions. This blog post gives an overview of the document and its features.

Why focus on frailty?

A person with frailty can experience serious adverse consequences following even a relatively minor illness. Its impact can be very significant in terms of consequent disability or admission to a nursing home.

If frailty is identified at an early stage and individuals are targeted with evidence-based interventions that can manage frailty, or reverse it, this can improve people’s quality of life and wellbeing. This reduces the likelihood that they will need to access unplanned services due to a crisis, which, in turn, reduces the use of expensive, unscheduled care.

The community-based interventions that can make a difference

The literature on frailty is vast. For the purposes of our resource we focused on interventions in frailty that are community-based, focused on the prevention of harms or poor outcomes, and supported by relatively high-level evidence. The Evidence and Evaluation for Improvement Team carried out literature searches and produced evidence summaries for the following topics:

  • Exercise interventions and physical activity
  • Polypharmacy review
  • Immunisation
  • Primary care interventions
  • Community geriatric services
  • Lifestyle factors: physical activity diet, obesity, smoking alcohol and their relation to frailty
  • Nutritional interventions for the prevention and treatment of frailty
  • Hospital at home: admission prevention and early discharge
  • Reablement (including rehabilitation)
  • Bed-based intermediate care
  • Anticipatory care planning

Making the evidence accessible

We then created visual abstracts for each topic, which allow readers to compare the different interventions at a glance, and provide a route into the more detailed evidence summaries and further reading. The visual abstracts include information on the potential benefits of each intervention, evidence quality, costs, and frailty level:

Reablement visual abstract
Reablement visual abstract
Reablement summary
Reablement evidence summary

 

We hope that this document will help Health and Social Care Partnerships to compare different interventions for frailty and the evidence behind them, and to consider which interventions could make a difference for people with frailty in their local areas.

You can access the report, Living Well in Communities with Frailty: evidence for what works by clicking on the document image below:

Cover image

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.

Comparing tools that can help to identify people who could benefit from a palliative care approach

PC tools comparator cover

We have recently published a resource that compares different tools that could be used to identify people who could benefit from a palliative care approach. This blog post gives an overview of the document and its features.

The benefits of early identification

Early identification of people who could benefit from a palliative approach to their care has many advantages. It can allow people to make informed choices about what medical treatments and care they would like to receive, or not receive, and to prioritise things that are important to them when length of life may be short, or when the presence of irreversible illness has altered life for that person.

Palliative care identification tools

It can be very difficult to recognise when someone is nearing the end of their life due to a chronic, progressive medical condition, frailty or old age. A number of tools are available to help identify individuals who could benefit from a palliative care approach at an earlier stage.

Comparing different tools – at a glance

We have designed a visual resource comprising a table and a decision tree (see below) to make it easier for Health and Social Care Partnerships to compare the key features of different identification tools, and to select the tools that are most appropriate for their contexts.

PC tools table

Palliative care tools decision tree v0.7

 

This resource is not intended to be a comprehensive literature review, but rather a visual comparison of some of the main identification tools that are currently used in Scotland. There are brief outlines of all of the tools featured in the comparison table and decision tree, together with links to some key research and further information on these tools.

We have focused on tools that were identified in a literature review by Maas et al, and discussions with palliative care clinicians in Scotland. Some have been validated and others have not. We have tried as far as possible to include information on the limitations of different tools.

You can access the palliative care identification tools comparator on the ihub website by clicking on the document image below:

 

PC tools comparator cover