Mersey Community Hospital has a new six-bed palliation ward within its facility recently opened at Latrobe. It became a priority for Mersey Community Hospital to support their staff with education opportunities to provide a palliative approach to care for patients and families within their care. Mersey sent team members; Melissa Hammersley, Sue-Anne Midgley, Peter Nuttall, Debbie Bonney, Sharman Horsburgh and Joanne Lucas for PEPA placement at the Whittle Unit in Hobart for experiential learning and a plan to develop new protocol and palliation directions for all health care workers involved in this new area of their service.
The following is a summary of the palliative care processes and practices implemented and active now within their facility as a result of PEPA placements.
- Attempt to have coverage on the roster of staff who have completed the PEPA program to be present on the palliation floor where possible
- Continual implementation of PCOC education including attending the PCOC Assessment and Response Framework workshops when in Launceston
- Guiding and supporting staff to complete the Essentials Online Course and Orientation to PCOC (including senior staff) in order to develop knowledge and improve patient and carer outcomes
- Providing staff and students with PCOC lanyard cards
- Student preceptorship programs in palliation, students are now being specifically rostered on to our Palliation Ward and having full days dedicated to sharing resources and targeted education
- Bereavement follow-up guide, now contacting families to identify if further support is required and to check on their general wellbeing after a loved one has died
- Ongoing education on the correct use of syringe drivers
- Evidence-based practice on the correct insertion and removal of subcutaneous lines
- Implementation of a Palliative Care Nursing Communication Book
- Installation of privacy curtains in our palliating room for dignity and much-needed privacy for families and patients
- Clinical education resources to manage pre-emptive education, which we believe will come with time and experience.
In addition to these achievements, the Mersey team are developing more processes for:
- A checklist for staff to refer to ‘What to do when your patient dies’
- CODE PINK – New medical code procedure in response to patient acute pain
- End of Life Care Plan
- Procedure for patients animals to be on the palliation ward.
Thank you Mersey Community Hospital for your passion and investment in your staff to provide the best palliative outcomes for your local community. Many could learn from you.