Ensuring that a dying patient and family feel supported during the transfer from a tertiary cancer centre to home is essential. Communication to community teams taking over the care of the patient is vital. A multi-professional working group based at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre developed and implemented a Rapid Discharge Plan following close liaison with services and personnel across the Network. The Cancer Centre has ensured that patients are accompanied by a trained member of nursing staff who stays with the patient until community teams arrive.
In 2004, NICE guidance recommended that incurably ill people be able to make choices relating to end of life care, including where to die. This was highlighted later by the Department of Health.
Arranging a rapid discharge home from a tertiary cancer centre covering a wide geographical area, involving multiple health care teams, and serving 2 million people, can appear overwhelming. Ensuring that the patient and family feel supported during that transfer is essential, as is communication to community teams taking over patient care.
A multi-professional working group based at The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre (CCC) developed and implemented a Rapid Discharge Plan, ensuring that patients are accompanied by a trained member of nursing staff until community teams arrive.
CCC aimed to develop a process enabling the transfer home of patients, in the last hours or days of life, who had chosen to die at home. The aim was to discharge them within a maximum of 24 hours, ideally within four. They were to be accompanied by a trained nurse.
Objectives included developing teamwork within CCC, to implement the new process. The team aimed to develop excellent communication and liaison with community health care professionals involved in the patient's care.
The establishment of a system for dispensing medication in a timely manner was necessary. The organisation for urgent delivery of oxygen and equipment to home would be crucial.
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