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Annual Conference

4th Annual Conference & AGM
“Hospice @ Home – A NICE Way Forward”

Report of the Annual Conference By Rosalind Matty, Hon. Secretary

The fourth Annual Conference and AGM of the National Forum for Hospice at Home was held on October 20th 2004 at Regents College Conference Centre.  Over 120 delegates attended.

Retiring Forum Chair Rowena Dean, in her welcome speech informed delegates that talks have continued during the year around Care Standards and the complications for H@H services.  She had given oral evidence on behalf of the Forum to the Government’s Health Select Committee on Palliative Care.  The subsequent report from the Committee identifies that patient choice for care at home is an important component of palliative care and a current hot issue.

The Conference keynote Speaker was Peter Tebbitt, National Palliative Care Development Advisor, National Council for Hospice & Specialist Palliative Care Services, whose presentation on the NICE Guidelines and Hospice at Home made it very clear that palliative care is no longer an optional extra for the NHS and is in fact now a core responsibility.  The NHS may commission services from across the health care spectrum (statutory, voluntary and independent sectors) but services commissioned must comply with NICE recommendations.  The challenges for Hospice at Home include the need:

  • To develop a minimum service specification.
  • To develop units of cost measurement.
  • To be fully integrated into a specialist palliative care team or service.

There then followed three further presentations:-

  • Dr Stephen Barclay, General Practitioner & MacMillan Facilitator, “Primary Care out of Hours – Dying for a GP” gave delegates much food for thought particularly in the light of the new GP Contracts and Out of Hours arrangements.
  • Dr Gunn Grande, Research Advisor for the NFFH@H discussed the research project which she has been commissioned by the Forum to carry out: “How do circumstances around death at home affect bereaved caregivers? – a pilot project with the NFFH@H  to consider preference for place of death”.  An initial pilot project includes hospice at home services attached to inpatient  units, to allow the study to include inpatients alongside those at home.
  • John Hunt, Independent Palliative Care Nurse Consultant, presented the outcome of the NFFH@H audit package which he was commissioned to develop.  The Audit Tool had been piloted across six H@H sites in the UK during August 2004.  Modifications were made in the light of the outcomes of the pilot, and the Audit Tool will be available to members on this website by mid-December.

The afternoon session was chaird by the new Chair, Carol Stone (Chief Executive of the Ellenor Foundation and the Lions Hospice) and consisted of four workshops relating to various aspects of Hospice at Home.  The workshops included:-

  • “Starting a Hospice at Home”, facilitated by Carol Stone.
  • “Pharmacy issues for Hospice at Home – has anything changed?”, facilitated by Mary Allan, (Clinical Pharmacist at the Hospice of St Francis, Berkhamsted).
  • “Keeping a not at Home”, facilitated by Nikki le Provost (Education Head, Ellenor Foundation).
  • Working together for better care at home”, facilitated by Kathy Dobson (Bradford and South West PCT) and Beverley Lucas (University of Bradford).

The afternoon sessions ended with some very lively discussion as delegates reported back on the various workshops they had attended.  These workshops created a great deal of interest and much valuable information relating to areas of good practice and innovative ways of collaborative workingwas disseminated in an interactive manner.

Carol Stone concluded the day by encouraging delegates to share information about local developments in Hospice at Home to allow the forum to continue to drive forward and champion the integration of Hospice at Home services into community palliative care.

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