PALLIATIVE PATIENT EARLY IDENTIFICATION
Central West CCAC and Central West Palliative Care Network
Research shows that if patients were identified earlier in their illness they would benefit from well-coordinated, high quality palliative care, improving both their quality and length of life. By September 30, 2016, the Central West Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) increased its identification of patients with palliative care needs from 5.2% to 10%, enabling access to optimal palliative care and improve quality of life.
Project work was informed by work of the South West LHIN Early Palliative Identification Project, Gold Standards Framework, and Supportive and Palliative Care Indicators Tool (SPICT). The project team included a cohort of clinicians and partners, all of whom had completed the QI Advanced IDEAS program.
Early identification education and supporting processes were rolled out between March and October 2016 results include:
- 40% reduction in acute care readmissions/admissions
- Increase percentage of patients dying at home (54%) for patients identified as palliative under the project, as compared to patients not identified as palliative where only 35% died at home
- Patient families stated that their experience at end of life was improved, and that they had less anxiety through better planning and earlier conversations with their loved ones.
The valuable work of improving the early identification of patients who would benefit from a hospice palliative care approach is challenging, and resource intensive as it requires engagement with all elements of the health care system. Utilizing a QI framework, organizational and leadership support and a committed project team, the Central West CCAC and Central West Palliative Care Network have made great strides in improving the overall experience for palliative patients and their loved ones.