Supporting home care for the dying: an evaluation of healthcare professionals' perspectives of an individually tailored hospice at home service.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of clinical nursing, 2013, 22 (19-20), pp. 2778 - 2786
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AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To explore health care professionals' perspective of hospice at home service that has different components, individually tailored to meet the needs of patients. BACKGROUND: Over 50% of adults diagnosed with a terminal illness and the majority of people who have cancer, prefer to be cared for and to die in their own home. Despite this, most deaths occur in hospital. Increasing the options available for patients, including their place of care and death is central to current UK policy initiatives. Hospice at home services aim to support patients to remain at home, yet there are wide variations in the design of services and delivery. A hospice at home service was developed to provide various components (accompanied transfer home, crisis intervention and hospice aides) that could be tailored to meet the individual needs of patients. DESIGN: An evaluation study. METHODS: Data were collected from 75 health care professionals. District nurses participated in one focus group (13) and 31 completed an electronic survey. Palliative care specialist nurses participated in a focus group (9). One hospital discharge co-ordinator and two general practitioners participated in semi-structured interviews and a further 19 general practitioners completed the electronic survey. RESULTS: Health care professionals reported the impact and value of each of the components of the service, as helping to support patients to remain at home, by individually tailoring care. They also positively reported that support for family carers appeared to enable them to continue coping, rapid access to the service was suggested to contribute to faster hospital discharges and the crisis intervention service was identified as helping patients remain in their own home, where they wanted to be. CONCLUSIONS: Health care professionals perceived that the additional individualised support provided by this service contributed to enabling patients to continue be cared for and to die at home in their place of choice. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: This service offers various components of a hospice at home service, enabling a tailor made package to meet individual and local area needs. Developing an individually tailored package of care appears to be able to meet specific needs.
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