Holding hands

Palliative care: new initiatives in North West London and Norfolk and Waveney

New model of care in North West London

North West London ICS recently held a series of events to provide residents with an opportunity to feedback on service options for a new model of community-based palliative care, which has been co-designed over the past year by a working group of residents alongside clinicians, NHS providers and charitable hospices.

The overall goal of the new model of care is to improve access to high-quality services, with the ICS highlighting the importance of coordinated care which reflects individual needs and preferences from diagnosis through to bereavement, and is sustainable for the future.

North West London goes on to emphasise that there were five key themes that people wanted to see from the model of care: improved partnership working, improved personalisation, cultural sensitivity, improved communications and better use of technology to reduce unnecessary travel and improve outcomes.

On how the new model of care will reflect this feedback, the ICS shares that the ‘care in your own home’ service will see the adult community specialist palliative care team available 12 hours per day, seven days a week; the hospice at home service will be available up to 25 hours. Additionally, consultant-led advice will be available through a 24/7 specialist phone service. For care in a community inpatient setting, enhanced end-of-life care beds will be increased (from eight to 54), and access will be improved to specialist hospice inpatient unit beds by increasing the hours in which people can be admitted. For outpatient and wellbeing care, the new model sees increased specialist clinics to improve consistency; a “consistent” care pathway in all boroughs providing one-to-one counselling and group sessions; and an expansion of service to care for cancer and non-cancer patients.

The ICS also details how it hopes proposed changes will address health inequalities – for example, “almost doubling” bed capacity is “likely to bring a range of new beds to more people and closer to their home”. On culturally competent care, the ICS notes plans to develop a cultural competency framework for providers to implement which will include training in this area. The model also “sets out ambitions for boroughs to develop local arrangements for single points of contact/access for these services and internal care coordination approaches”.

Find out more about the new model of care here.

Reviewing barriers to palliative research participation in Norfolk and Waveney

Elsewhere, a project has been launched by Norfolk and Waveney ICS which aims to “reduce the structural barrier to research participation for people with impaired capacity approaching the end of life”.

The project aims to review barriers to research participation for adults towards the end of life who have impaired mental capacity, including people in care homes, hospices and hospitals, with a particular focus on the challenges brought about by social isolation and use of digital tools. Stakeholders will be brought together so that changes in research participation can be monitored and measured, and the project will also examine how volunteers may help to increase participation.

The project has been awarded £95,000 in funding from NHS England through the Research Engagement Network development programme.

Dr Caroline Barry, palliative and end of life care clinical advisor for the ICB and associate clinical professor at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, led the team that has been awarded funding. She says: “It is essential to involve those who lack capacity within research to improve care and treatment, so that our research opportunities are inclusive, and our evidence is not limited to those with capacity or less advanced disease. Towards the end of life this can be particularly challenging, especially in care settings that are not normally involved in research.

She added: “Despite this, there are some great local examples of successful research studies that we are keen to learn from, with the aim of developing transferrable recommendations that can be scaled nationally.”