In 2009 Queenscourt Hospice launched their Hospice at Home service to help to support patients meet their wish to be cared for and to die at home. As this was a new initiative Queenscourt was keen to see if the service met the needs of the patients and families to whom care was provided. Edge Hill University Evidence-based Practice Research Centre have led several elements of evaluation of the service including the views of health care professionals and bereaved carers. What was vital, was to capture the voice of the patients themselves and their family carers, whilst they were in receipt of the service, to explore their experiences.
Supported by the Cheshire and Merseyside Palliative & End of Life Care Network, Professors Barbara Jack, Professor Mary O’Brien, Louise Cope and Tracy Mitchell, from Edge Hill University, Evidence-based Practice Research Centre, interviewed 41 patients and family carers who were receiving the service. All respondents reported the enormous value of the service and commented on the high quality of care they received. The support and care that was provided enabled families to continue to care for their loved one and also helped the patient to remain at home.
Professor Jack commented ‘This is the final element of the evaluation of the service and it confirms the service is providing a high quality service that is valued by health care professionals, patients and family carers. Importantly it has shown the service is suitable for the local population, as there was a large number of elderly patients in the study, as well as people who lived alone. Both are recognised as high risk groups for remaining at home, but with the input of Queenscourt at Home, to help fill the gaps in care, they were cared for and died in their home. One family carer referred to the service as being a ‘Bridge from the Hospice’, bringing the care of Queenscourt Hospice in to their home, which has been a key theme throughout the evaluation’
Dr Karen Groves, Medical and Education Director at Queenscourt Hospice said ‘Since 2009 well over 1300 patients have received this service. Interestingly, many did not access other elements of Queenscourt’s services and so we have been able to reach and benefit a new group of local people. More than 80% have managed to stay at home during the final phase of their illness and die at home as they wished, despite the fact that a significant number lived alone.’
‘In our Silver Jubilee year we are proud to have an excellent, independent series of evaluations culminating in this one giving voice to the patient and family carer. We are grateful to this experienced research team who have been able to undertake a very sensitive piece of work.’
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