Palliative Care Assessment Unit, West Cumberland Hospital Admission Criteria
What sort of patients may require transfer to the Palliative Care Assessment Unit? (criteria)
- The patients who can most benefit from a transfer to the Palliative Care Unit are those with issues relating to physical symptoms, psychological distress, complex psychosocial care needs or spiritual needs that are causing distress and are difficult to address in the usual care setting.
- Priority is given to community admissions, dying patients and patients with multiple or unusually severe problems.
- Patients on the Unit are also taken into account when considering transfers.
What sort of diagnoses?
- Cancer patients provided they meet the above criteria.
- Patients with other life threatening illnesses who have limited life expectancy. E.g. end stage neurological disease, renal failure, heart failure, COPD.
- If in doubt check with Palliative Care Staff before discussing with patient.
What can the Palliative Care Assessment Unit offer?
- 6 assessment beds (with access to the specialist palliative care multidisciplinary team).
- Shared care with the admitting consultant and their junior medical team.
- Nursing staff trained in palliative care who are skilled at getting patients home as well as caring for dying patients.
- A short admission (usually for 1-2 weeks) for rapid assessment of care needs, symptom control and/or terminal care.
- If longer term care is required transfer to an alternative placement (eg general ward or Community hospital bed) may be needed until this is organised.
- The Unit cannot offer long term care, respite care, day case procedures or a chronic pain service.
- The Unit is very similar in appearance and staffing to the rest of the hospital (one to one care is not provided). There is a two-bedded bay and four single rooms. Bed allocation depends on gender-mix therefore single rooms can not be guaranteed.
How are patients admitted to the Palliative Care Unit?
- People who are not inpatients of WCH need to be admitted to Patterdale Ward in the first instance. This is the only reliable way to ensure ongoing medical care for your patient.
- Patients cannot be transferred until they have been allocated to a hospital consultant (NOT Dr Rowe or Dr Palmer).
- Patients can then be transferred directly from other wards within the hospital after liaison and acceptance by the palliative care unit nursing staff (to negotiate transfer).
- For all patients the consultant in charge of the patients care (or authorised middle grade) MUST agree to the transfer and agree to provide ongoing care (including transfer back if the PCU requests this). The patient and family must also agree to the transfer.
- You can speak to the Palliative Care Unit directly regarding bed availability and reasons why the patient would benefit from admission to the Unit. The extension number for the unit is 4058.