Journal Mobile

F Paterson, D Buchanan, F MacIvor, L Baker, P Levack
Journal Issue: 
Volume 42: Issue 1: 2012



Hospital patients should have access to effective palliative care. In our study, three short-stay beds were re-allocated to specialist palliative care as part of a pilot programme. This paper describes the first 100 admissions of patients with inadequately controlled symptoms or distress. Median pain and distress scores were both seven out of a maximum of 10 (interquartile ranges [IQR] 4–10 and 1–10 respectively), reducing to 3.5 (IQR 1–5) and 0 (0–5) after 48 hours. Median length of stay was five days (IQR 3–10); 77% of patients were discharged: 32% to home, 26% to a hospice or community hospital, 19% to their original ward for treatment and 23% died in the unit. A unit education programme introduced as part of the study attracted 600 staff members. Pain and distress were rapidly improved by brief, intense palliative care in a small onsite facility. The pilot programme also influenced the understanding of palliative care in the hospital, demonstrating what it offered patients, family and staff. It demonstrated effective, concurrent working alongside an active disease-management approach, and encouraged collaborative discussions about the goals of care.