An innovative, new approach to delivering community-based end-of-life care – developed and piloted by South West Community Care Access Centre and being evaluated by Western researchers – is now being used by a palliative care centre in the United Kingdom.
St. Luke’s Hospice in Sheffield, England is the first British palliative care centre participating in this pioneering international project aimed at providing greater levels of end-of-life care for patients in their own homes.
EnComPaSS (Enhanced Community Palliative Support Services), which is led by Deborah Fitzsimmons from Western’s Faculty of Health Sciences, provides effective and cost efficient care for UK patients and their families in their own homes. It is anticipated that EnComPaSS will reduce the need for hospital admissions in England by between 40 and 52 per cent.
“The situation that we have in Canada is very similar to the one in the U.K.,” explains Fitzsimmons. “It is extremely fragmented and we don’t have a continuity of care even within palliative care. And while we have fantastic specialists and palliative care experts working through the hospices and hospitals, we don’t have the number required to provide care for everyone that needs it in the U.K.”
By providing high quality palliative care in the community, EnComPaSS will help more people to die with dignity in a place of their choosing.
Harnessing the latest in information technology developments, EnComPaSS allows senior specialist palliative nurses and doctors to provide direction to St Luke’s community nurses providing high quality and timely care to multiple patients in their own homes from a remote setting.
Using secure tablet computers and software instead of paper-based systems, community nurses capture patient clinical data at the patient’s bedside and both specialist and community nurse can review the data via an online dashboard, thereby improving communication and the quality of shared information across the service.
“Using EnComPaSS, St Luke’s community nurses really become the eyes, hands and ears of the Senior Nurse,” says Dr. Sam Kyeremateng, St Luke’s Hospice Medical Director. “We believe that this new approach will improve the quality of care for some of Sheffield’s most vulnerable end-of-life patients, reduce admissions and unnecessary visits to hospital, and help more patients to stay at home.”
The development of EnComPaSS has been a partnership between Western, St Luke’s Hospice, Sensory Technologies of Canada and the University of Sheffield, a partner in the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care Yorkshire and Humber (www.clahrc-yh.nihr.ac.uk).
The partnership was awarded £250,000 (approx. $500,000 CDN) from the National Health Services (NHS) Nursing Technology Fund to develop the technology and training required to fully integrate EnComPaSS.
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