We’re continuing our focus on end-of-life care as part of National Palliative Care Week. Today we’re shining the spotlight on a Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service project Terminal phase care pathway in the Emergency Department.
The project provides a multidisciplinary approach to improving the recognition and care of patients nearing end of life in an emergency department. The pathway, adapted by Liverpool Emergency Department in New South Wales, is building the skills and capacity of ED staff to provide terminal phase care.
Bernadette from the project said “the aims of the project were to empower the emergency staff to first feel more comfortable having the conversations, identifying the patients, and then managing them appropriately in the emergency department. It’s made a difference in that the staff feel more confident and comfortable to provide the care that the patients need, so it’s been a great outcome for the patients as well.”
Bernadette Nolan: Often patients will present to emergency department and it's not the ideal time to start making decisions about where I go to from here in terms of end of life care or acute treatment. But it does happen, unfortunately. So we wanted to make that transition a bit easier. There's so much going on for people at that point in life. And not just the consumer or the patient, but they're also their loved ones and their families and relatives. And they often don't know what's going on, and there's so much going on. But if they can reflect back in a day, a month, 20 years and go, that's actually really nice when I could sit there or they did this for me. That's how our game achieved by then. So yeah, just to make that terrible moment in your life a little less terrible. possible. The aims of the project were to empower the emergency staff to feel more comfortable, firstly, having the discussions identifying the patients, and then managing them appropriately in the emergency department. So it's made a difference in that the staff feel more confident and comfortable to provide the care that the patients need. So therefore, it's been a great outcome for the patients as well. The seed funding was integral in getting us going. And within the hospital, we had quite a large collaboration between some of the specialist medical services, end of life care committee and project officers. So yeah, we try to cover all of our bases with our stakeholders. We have within our own health service another facility within emergency department. And from the get go, that's always been the goal to implement it at one facility, scale it to the next and beyond.
This project is supported by our second round of SEED (Support, Explore, Excel and Deliver) funding. The SEED funding program is designed to stimulate novel innovative approaches to the delivery of care as part of the Statewide strategy for end-of-life care. It’s part of Queensland Health’s commitment to ensuring all Queenslanders have access to safe and high-quality care at the end of their lives.
For more information on this project, click on the link above. For more projects like this, visit the Improvement Exchange.
For more information on care at end of life:
- For patients, carers and families
- For clinicians
- Subscribe to the care at end of life newsletter
- Contact CareAtEOL@health.qld.gov.au