Teesside University has found that introducing an end-of-life discharge sister gives more patients the freedom to spend their final moments away from hospital.
Following a recent review into the effectiveness of palliative care, researchers from the university’s Health and Social Care research institute examined how an end-of-life discharge sister would work at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
Dr Sharon Hamilton and Susan Jones, who were behind the experiment, found that during the first 12 months, 111 patients were discharged home.
They noted that the new role helped to reduce the time needed to secure a hospital transfer and presented their results to the Royal College of Nursing International research conference.
Ms Jones said: “James Cook Hospital wanted to enable more people to die away from the hospital, perhaps in their own home or care home, if they wished to do so.
“A key finding of the research was how small the window of opportunity was for achieving a good end-of-life discharge. It starts with timely communication with patients and families on the preferred place of care to co-ordinate the rapid transfer from hospital.”
The recent Palliative Care Funding Review, which was compiled by Tom Hughes-Hallet, who is a former chief executive of Marie Cancer Care, showed that current costs for this kind of care are not providing good value for money.
Mr Hughes-Hallet’s report also highlighted that many patients would rather receive care and die in the comfort of their own homes.
The government is set to publish a White Paper on care and support in the wake of the review’s findings.