13 Nov 2020

Without adequate out-of-hours support, patients are at risk of being ‘crisis-managed’, leading to unplanned admissions to hospitals and A&E departments. 

Aims of this study

This study aims to characterise different models of out-of-hours community-based palliative care, to develop a classification of models, and to compare the experiences of patients and families receiving different models of care. 

In doing so, the researchers want to identify and reduce inequalities in the provision of out-of-hours services. The research will show which models of out-of-hours care do or don’t work from the viewpoint of those using them, consider how different models are able to meet the needs of patients and how levels of service provision affect place of care. 

This evidence is essential for clinical leads, commissioners and health policy decision-makers to make informed decisions on the provision of services for both patients and their families.  

How this research will be carried out 

This study will be carried out in three phases, using a variety of research methods. The first phase aims to systematically review evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of models of out-of-hours community palliative care.

The second phase aims to characterise existing UK community-based models and generate a classification of these models using focus groups, a Delphi study and structured interviews. 

The third phase aims to explore and contrast patients’ and families’ experiences of different models of out-of-hours community-based palliative care, and to identify factors that lead to unplanned hospital use. 

Our collaborators 

Our collaborators on the project include King's College Hospital, St Giles Hospice, Lichfield; Forest Holme community specialist palliative care team, Poole Hospital, Dorset; St Luke’s Hospice, Sheffield; Princess Alice Hospice community team, Esher, Surrey; Pilgrims Hospices community teams, East Kent; St Francis Hospice community and crisis support, Romford, Essex; Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow. We plan to work with other specialist palliative care community services as the project progresses.

More information

This project is funded by a Marie Curie Research Grant (£267,432). It was adopted by the ARC South London in December 2019 and is expected to finish in January 2022.

Read more about the project on the Cicely Saunders website.