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The evaluation, funded by the NIHR, will be conducted over 29 months in collaboration with Pilgrims Hospice, CHSS, EKHUFT and the University of Sussex. It will compare outcomes for patients in areas where the new Rapid Response Community End of Life Service has been introduced with those where the service is not yet in operation.

This is the first type of trial of its kind in the field of palliative care services provided at home.The primary aim of this project is to evaluate whether the new service enables more patients to die in their preferred place of death, especially for those wishing to die at home. Though death in the preferred place is a key aim in the DH’s End of Life Care Strategy, identifying reliable and useful methods for recording patient preferences is not easy. Improving the recording practices of patient preferences was the subject of a project undertaken in CHSS in preparation for this evaluation. The questionnaire that was developed is currently being used by hospice staff to good effect.

The evaluation will also determine the cost of providing the new rapid response service versus the cost of usual services. The needs of carers are also being considered and the impact of the service on them will be evaluated using postal questionnaires and through interviews with bereaved carers.

This design is both rigorous in allowing for comparison groups and pragmatic as it gives Pilgrims Hospice time to recruit and train new staff and implement the new service in each area.

Start date: 01/12/2009 End date: 30/04/2012

Funder: Department of Health

Funding: £178,202

Publications: Evaluation of a hospice rapid response community service: a controlled evaluation

Results of a controlled evaluation of a hospice rapid response community service for end of life care

Evaluation Of Pilgrims Hospices Rapid Response Hospice At Home Service: Summary of findings March 2015

A quasi-experimental controlled evaluation of the impact of a hospice rapid response community service for end-of-life care on achievement of preferred place of death

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Last Updated: 21/11/2016