Author(s): Brumley D, Fisher J, Robinson H, Ashby M
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To improve access to clinical information for nurses and doctors providing after hours community palliative care in a regional Australian setting. DESIGN: This was an action research project designed to improve collation and distribution of succinct, pertinent and timely information about unstable palliative care patients to nurses and general practitioners (GPs) involved in after hours care. Each week day, each patient's purpose-designed single-page information sheet was updated on the community palliative care service computers. This sheet was designed to give key abstracted information on each patient's history, current condition, treatment and plans for future care. Patients considered to be unstable had their sheets faxed to the GPs on call. SETTING AND SUBJECTS: This procedure was followed for all adult patients admitted to Ballarat Hospice Care Inc, Victoria, Australia between June and August 2004. The nurses and Executive Officer at Ballarat Hospice Care Inc and thirteen GPs from the Ballarat and District Division of General Practitioners were involved in the study. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Surveys and feedback from palliative care nurses and GPs. RESULTS: A one-page information sheet provided essential clinical information to nurses and doctors. The nurses' confidence markedly increased with ready access to the information sheets on a hand held Palm Pilot. The nurses also reported improved outcomes for patients using this approach and there was favourable feedback from GPs. CONCLUSIONS: This project led to the development of a simple, effective and low cost means of improving communication between professionals caring for palliative care patients after hours.
This article was published in Aust J Adv Nurs
and referenced in Journal of Community & Public Health Nursing