PATCH’s vision is that patients in hospital who need specialist palliative care will receive it when they need it, and that such care is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
The charity is the first of its kind in Scotland and aims to achieve its goals by funding hospitals throughout Scotland to provide resources such as:
- specialist palliative care staff
- specialist beds
- skills to talk to patients, families and staff about dying
- time to listen to the concerns of patients and families
- skilled symptom control
- close links with the community and
- careful planning of future care.
PATCH was inspired by the model of care developed by the Acute Palliative Care Unit in Ninewells Hospital, Dundee and, in turn, this model of care was started by a charitable donation and is now funded by NHS Tayside.
Hospitals, individuals or professional teams can submit proposals to PATCH for service development such as additional staffing or dedicated specialist beds.
PATCH plans to sponsor a national conference on hospital palliative care in 2015 at which hospitals either considering applying for funding, or those wishing to present services which are already in place, can meet for discussion and debate. It is intending to develop a network of hospital palliative care services that have benefitted from PATCH support.
Medical Director for the charity, Dr Pamela Levack, has 36 years of NHS experience both as a general practitioner and for the last 15 years as a consultant in palliative medicine in Tayside.
Speaking about the new charity, she said:
“There is irrefutable evidence for improved specialist palliative care in hospitals as many hospital patients with pain and complex symptoms do not have access to a palliative care specialist. The lessons learnt from hospice care do not easily transfer to large, busy acute hospitals, which have different organisational structures as well as many conflicting demands.
“Different approaches have been tried – some local, some national – but hospitals are all different, both in their patient populations, their staff, their history and their ‘culture.’ Any new service or approach has to be accepted by the organisation, championed by someone with enough first -hand experience to argue the clinical case and will almost certainly need some funding. “
The first Friends of PATCH fundraising group is now established in Tayside and it is planned that further Friends Groups will be established. For further information on Friends of PATCH, for any information in relation to PATCH or to discuss palliative care issues in hospital email: contactus@patchscotland or visit the website.