Successful system helps end of life patients

Lorraine using the system

AN electronic system which helps support patients through their final years is a huge success.

The End of Life team at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has established a system up known as Electronic Palliative Care Coordination System Records, (EPaCCs), to allow the sharing of patient records between GPs, patients and staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

The system was developed in 2016 stemming from a national initiative from NHS England for all Trusts to have an electronic system in place to improve end of life decision sharing and has been so successful that other organisations are looking to see how they can use the system.

Lorraine Tymon works at Blackpool Victoria Hospital as an End of Life Facilitator.

She has been heavily involved in making this system the success it has been.

She said: “The system has been a fantastic resource for us all and has really helped to enhance communication between organisations and staff who would support a patient with their end of life care.

“The system is GP-led and the process begins when a patient speaks to a GP about their choices and preferences about how they would like to be cared for in their final days.

“If a patient is very poorly and perhaps could be admitted to hospital if family members or care home staff start to panic. Hospital staff can then view this patient’s EPaCCs and would see they are not suitable for a hospital setting and can arrange for a patient to be discharged and taken home safely in order to fulfil their choices and preferences.”

Victoria Dixon, End of Life Clinical Lead said: “This is a fantastic way for us to record a patient’s wishes and decisions.

“We have patient centred care by allowing them to make decisions and communicate these to professionals who will be involved in their care.

“The system has had a huge impact on our service. We have been able to get people discharged from hospital very quickly by knowing their preferences.

“Not only has the system been so useful to us but also for the patients. They are now more likely to receive the care they want rather than the care people think they want.

“We are able to make changes to the patient’s records if things have changed in their family dynamics or their choices. We can make suitable arrangements to ensure the patient is happy.

“We are far on nationally with our system because it has been pushed by local organisations who put the patient at the centre of their care.

“We love the system and a very proud to be making a difference. Other Trusts are coming to us and asking us about our system to see if they can replicate.

“In end of life care, you only get one chance to get it right. Now, our patients have a better chance as they have the capability to make their wishes known.”

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