Report: Role of Specialist Palliative Care in Providing Support to Care Homes in England

A recent survey of organizations in the UK providing specialist palliative care services in the home identifies the key challenges they face.

This survey of 108 specialist palliative care services based in hospices, the community or hospitals was conducted between November 2016 and January 2017. 90% of those surveyed had been providing services to care homes for 10 years or more.

Currently 22% of deaths in England take place in a care home (including nursing homes). Although 84% of those surveyed said they provided education or training to care homes, the report found a need to reinforce learning across the sector. High turnover of staff was a big obstacle to improving end of life care in care homes, affecting continuity of care and uptake of training. The report also found that specialist palliative care performance measures were more focused on processes than outcomes and that there could be more emphasis on capturing patient and care experiences.

The report makes several recommendations, including better data collection, a focus on patient related outcomes rather than numbers, and ways to improve staff training including raising awareness and attainment of key competencies in palliative care. The full report can be downloaded here.

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