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Specialist discharge sister for end-of-life patients 'a success'

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A scheme piloting the introduction of an end-of-life discharge sister has proved successful for “many patients”, according to UK researchers.

The increased level of co-ordination by the role helped overcome the problem of having limited time in which to arrange a quick transfer out of hospital for end-of-life care patients.

Susan Jones, a research associate at Teesside University, assessed the introduction of the new service at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough. During the service’s first 12 months, 111 dying patients were discharged home via the project.

The authors said: “A key finding was how small the window of opportunity was for achieving a good end-of-life discharge. This window formed part of a discharge continuum that not only comprised a rapid transfer from hospital but started with timely communication with patients and their families regarding preferred place of care.

“The new service brought a more coordinated approach along this continuum which made an impact on the timeliness of the discharge process.”

They added: “The new service was successful in promoting a good discharge for many patients.

“However, further development of the service is needed so that more patients are able to achieve their preferred place of care.”

The findings were presented on Wednesday at the Royal College of Nursing’s international research conference in London.

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