At Hospice of the Valleys we have reintroduced an out-patient service which allows patients to be reviewed at the Hospice centre in Ebbw Vale with an appointment-based system.
The outpatient clinic allows patients to have regular contact with the multi-disciplinary team; including the Clinical Nurse Specialist, Specialist Physiotherapist, Complementary Therapist and Welfare Rights or Social Worker.
Many patients find the appointment-based out-patient system enables them to maintain contact with health professionals whilst continuing with daily life, whereas, we are less likely to be able to offer a specific date and time of review due to ever-changing priority based daily workload.
Hospice patients are welcome to attend out-patient appointment regardless of what stage of illness they are in. Many out-patients are reviewed regularly whilst others are more infrequent depending on the individual level of support that is needed. It is also possible that throughout a person’s illness, Hospice support may not be continuously required and there may be periods of discharge and re-referral. Patients are also encouraged to bring family or carers to the appointments, as they would for hospital appointments where their questions and worries may be alleviated at the same time.
An example of a morning at Out-Patients
The first patient today was a gentleman who had been newly diagnosed with lung cancer. He attended with his wife and they were both still very much in shock at the news of his illness. During the consultation, we were able to discuss the diagnosis and his symptoms, and what mattered most to him. Following the consultation, the gentleman was able to meet with a member of the Welfare Rights Team to complete a financial assessment and we made another appointment for a few weeks’ time when he will also be able to see the Specialist Physiotherapist for breathlessness management.
My next appointment was a follow-up appointment with a young woman who has been diagnosed with a recurrence of her cancer. During the appointment, we were able to discuss her concerns and worries about telling her children about her diagnosis and difficulty with sleeping. At her next appointment, she will see both the social work team for emotional support and advice on how to break the news to her children and our complementary therapist for relaxation techniques to support her sleep pattern.
Kim Jones, Deputy Head of Clinical Services said “Out-patients allows me to see patients from across Blaenau Gwent in one place whilst allowing them some control of their appointments and not having to wait at home. Out-patients also give patients a sense of privacy away from their own homes, like the young lady who needed to discuss her diagnosis away from her children”.
‘It was easier to be able to see a nurse and social worker on the same day’