Today, only a few patients from the island of Aeroe take advantage of the opportunity to be admitted to a hospice even though they are in need of pain-relieving (palliative) care on a specialised level and meet the criteria for hospice.
The nearest hospice to Aeroe is Hospice Sydfyn in Svendborg, which requires taking a ferry from Aeroe. Many dying patients and their relatives emphasise the importance of staying in the home environment, and this may contribute to the patients rejecting hospice care. Therefore, as part of the development of the coherent health service, there is a need for testing new possibilities for increased collaboration on this specialised treatment.
To overcome the distance and offer specialised palliative care to the citizens of Aeroe, a “Telemedicine hospice bed” had been established at Aeroe Hospital. Here, the patient and local healthcare staff could have specialised counselling via video with Hospice Sydfyn and the affiliated doctors from Palliative Team Fyn (from the Department of Oncology at Odense University Hospital). The video connection was also used to provide specialist guidance and support to the staff at Aeroe Hospital who were new to giving palliative care to patients.
The project examined if the opening of the telemedicine service increased the use and the quality of specialised palliative care for patients located on Aeroe. In addition to this, the project examined if patients experience an increase in quality of life and comfort by the use of telemedicine.
During the project period of 13 months, six patients were admitted to the tele-hospice. The project required some reorganisation for the staff at Aeroe Hospital because they had to specialise in complex problems regarding palliative care. It was a challenge to keep the staff updated with the relatively small amount of patients and it was difficult to build routine.
The health staff were of the impression that patients and relatives benefitted from the video consultations. Sparring between Hospice Sydfyn and Aeroe Hospital worked best prior to the consultation, where patients and relatives took part in the adjustments of treatment and care.
The Regional Council in the Region of Southern Denmark has decided to make tele-hospice a permanent offer for the citizens of Aeroe.
Start: April 2018
End: Summer 2020
The project was funded by the Regional Council in the Region of Southern Denmark.