Many outcome measures have been developed for use in health services in the past two decades, but relatively few are tailored to be meaningful and work well for people who have an advanced illness. In this project, Cicely Saunders Institute researchers have collaborated with patients, families, and providers of specialist palliative care services across south London to decide which are the best and most patient-centred outcome measures to use, and to work out how to integrate these measures into the everyday care they offer.
CLAHRC South London work is building on an ongoing project in south east London – the Outcome Assessment and Complexity Collaborative (OACC), funded by Guy's and St Thomas' Charity.
Initially, the project involved palliative and end of life care professionals who work at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals, King's College Hospital, Lewisham Hospital (part of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust), St Christopher's Hospice in Sydenham and at the Princess Royal University Hospital in Bromley (now part of King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust). Now the research team is working with providers and professionals across the whole of south London.
Two nurses employed by the OACC project as 'quality improvement facilitators' (QIFs) have spent time with each specialist team to help them work out how best to make outcome measures an integral part of their particular service. They have also helped to develop training about how to use of outcome measures – and about what to do with the results.
The team has launched a research project that asks service providers to reflect on how the OACC measures are being used.
The project uses 'circles of learning'. This approach is being tested to explore whether it is effective in utilising shared knowledge about outcome measures.
At the start, each site will have its own circle made up of clinicians, nurses and managers. Once these groups are established, the plan is for them to come together to share their learning and to build consensus on the best ways to use and implement the measures.