Nursing Times Awards Finalist- Patient Safety Improvement

The Newcastle Hospitals’ palliative and end of life care team have been shortlisted for a Nursing Times Award in Patient Safety Improvement.  

Dying at home is often stated as a preference of patients reaching the end of their life in hospital; however these discharges are often complex and risky.  

The team at Newcastle Hospitals have developed a discharge pathway, comprising of three routes, depending on the stage of a patients illness, to improve the quality of palliative and end of life care discharges.

The project aims to help coordinate the timely, effective and safe discharge of patients who are identified to be in their last year of life.

A clear discharge pathway flowchart has been developed for end of life care discharges depending on the patient’s stage in their illness and corresponding checklists have also been created which aim to influence the safety and quality of discharges and empower staff to feel more confident and competent facilitating complex discharges.  

A trust wide pilot of the flowchart and checklists was undertaken in July 2017 and following a successful pilot the process and documentation was agreed and the discharge flowchart was rolled out across the trust.

Zoe Booth, nurse specialist in palliative care said: “During the pilot, ward teams and the specialist palliative care team report benefitting from a comprehensive framework to follow. It was valuable in reassuring them that they have followed all the necessary steps and having clear documentation of the current stage in the discharge process and what is still to complete.” 

“Our discharge group continues to meet regularly to expand the scope of this project but we are already noticing the positive effect the flowchart is having. A recent audit showed that 86% of patients were discharged to their preferred place of death in a safe and timely manner.    

The Nursing Times Awards Ceremony will take place on Wednesday 30 October 2019.

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