Coventry, UK -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/30/2014 -- The results of research commissioned by three leaders in palliative care: Help the Hospices, Marie Curie Cancer Care and the National End of Life Care Programme - now part of NHS Improving Quality, have been published.
The group wished to examine the feasibility and effectiveness of using real-time feedback tablets to survey people nearing the end of their lives. The report, published 30th of April 2014, recorded several positive findings, including the value of volunteers in supporting the patient engagement process, the acceptability of hand held tablets to palliative care patients - including the elderly, and the potential to develop standard questions that are common across all types of palliative care provision.
The opportunities identified could lead to end of life service comparisons across care homes, the community, hospices and hospital wards at local, regional and national levels as part of a benchmarking process.
The Lincolnshire based pilot took place over two stages in 2012-13. The research focused on those with chronic health conditions - including dementia, as well as frail, elderly patients aged from 65-94. A total of 560 people were surveyed.
Volunteers played a vital role by taking the touchscreen tablets to patients' bedsides and helping them during the feedback process. In many cases, the volunteers acted on some of the feedback themselves, for example by arranging cold rather than tepid drinking water, and calls for getting out of bed for gentle exercise.
CRT Ltd - a Coventry based feedback solutions company, supplied the tablets and created a real-time patient and carer satisfaction reporting dashboard for the group's stakeholders to access online. Ipsos MORI Health provided extra guidance in relation to the survey design and subsequent analysis of the responses.
The expected changes in the UK's demographics will have a profound impact on the future provision of hospice care. According the the Office for National Statistics, by 2035 the over 65s' will represent a quarter of the population.
The aging demographic will present a different and greater set of care demands, including increasing numbers of cancer and dementia cases. A changing social landscape will add to that picture, with more people living alone and fewer relatives to provide full time care.
Palliative care leaders have recognised the need to identify more innovative routes to reach and support those at the end of their life. Their collaboration and the consequent pilot study should lead to a national approach towards end of life care.
Simon Rowland, Customer Research Technology's CEO, commented: "We were glad that our technology and solutions were able to play a part in such an important project, the results of which will ultimately affect us all."