Internationally, there is a growing emphasis on health-related outcome measurements, which evaluate the change in a patients’ health status.
These can be used to assess both the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of health care, and to understand the difference that a palliative care team or service makes to a patients’ condition over a period of time.
However, outcome measurement relies on the ability of patients to accurately and reliably self-evaluate their own health status, including physical, psychological, social and spiritual symptom burden, which is not always possible for those who are too unwell or suffering from conditions such as dementia.
One of the most valuable ways to assess and accurately treat the main symptoms or concerns of patients is by using patient-centred outcome resources.
Research conducted at the Cicely Saunders Institute shows strong evidence that feedback from patient-centred outcome measures affects the process of care delivery, enabling more positive and holistic care. Specifically, we found that if you incorporate these measures into daily care:
- There is more understanding and recognition of symptoms.
- There is greater communication about health-related quality of life resulting in detection of unrecognised problems.
- Clinicians take more actions to address the symptoms and concerns raised.
The literature review conducted demonstrates that the psychological and emotional wellbeing of patients is improved. Our findings show that actively encouraging patients to report regularly on their physical and psychological condition reduces anxiety and improves wellbeing.
If patients feel that their problems and concerns are being monitored closely, and responded to as necessary, the sense that they are being listened to by the healthcare professionals responsible for their treatment also increases. This leads to improved communication as well as improved quality of life.
Using patient-centred outcome measures to assess the impact of care enables staff to implement more holistic, responsive and personalised treatment plans.
Information captured by these measures can help health professionals to identify unmet patient needs and concerns, and enable them to deliver more effective care.
Support in using outcome measures
We recognise that it is not always straightforward to routinely use patient-centred outcome measures, so the Cicely Saunders Institute has been working with Hospice UK to deliver and evaluate seven OACC ‘train the trainer’ workshops across the UK.
These workshops support staff and organisations to implement, and teach their staff how to use, the OACC measures in everyday clinical practice.
The OACC ‘train the trainer’ workshops which took place in May and June were positively evaluated and bookings are now open for the next three workshops on 14 September in Preston, 2 November in Leeds, and 30 November in London.
Details of these are available on the Hospice UK website. The workshops are ideal opportunities to take forward patient-centred outcomes in hospice and palliative care and are open to all those who have purchased the OACC Outcome Measures Resource Pack.