(Palliative Care Box)
Given a choice, most people would prefer to spend their last days in the comfortable and familiar surroundings of their home. Unfortunately, many are admitted to hospital due to a lack of information about how to receive home-based palliative care – and the logistical challenges of obtaining adequate medicine.
The 'palliationskassen' aims to change this so that more people are able to spend their last days at home instead of the unfamiliar surroundings of a hospital.
The Inspiration Behind the Innovation
Many terminal patients are admitted to hospital against their wishes because relatives and home healthcare workers don't feel confident about caring for them at home, especially in the later terminal phase.
The families of patients who elect to receive palliative care at home face a number of challenges, specifically a lack of information and insufficient supplies of end-of-life medication. As a result, they face high levels of stress and spend a lot of unnecessary time driving to and from the pharmacy instead of spending time with their loved ones.
In northern Jutland, all pharmacies are closed between midnight and 6 am – and the late hours are only available within the city of Aalborg. Patients and caregivers in outer regions have to make do with whatever medicine the doctor on duty can spare, and patients are often transported and admitted to hospital far from where they live in order to receive appropriate care.
The Solnedgangkassen is designed to enable more patients to receive palliative care at home instead of in hospital. The box contains a standardized assortment of the necessary medicine, instructions and information to help caregivers provide a high standard of in-home care for patients in the late-terminal phase.
Eventually, the team would like to see the Solnedgangkassen available for immediate delivery free of charge through emergency departments throughout Denmark. It's currently being piloted with 25 patients.
Anne Lund Krarup: Research Director, Attending Physician, Associate Professor; Department of Emergency and Trauma Centre, Aalborg University Hospital
Dorte Melgaard Kristiansen: Senior Researcher and Research Coordinator at Regionshospitalet Nordiyllad
Mike Sæderup Astorp: Clinician, Professor; Department of Emergency and Trauma Centre, Aalborg University Hospital