Based on a model that has already been rolled out successfully in many parts of the United States, the Serious Illness Care Programme UK will see British doctors and patients have structured conversations to identify the patient’s goals and priorities. This enables them to plan care together so that, as far as possible, the patient can live life the way they want to throughout their illness.
The programme was developed by the pioneering organisation Ariadne Labs in Boston, USA. It is being brought to the UK by a partnership led by The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust in Merseyside, with input from Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute Liverpool and Ariadne Labs.
It aims to improve the care of people with serious illnesses by giving them more control and more personalised treatment based on their needs and wishes. The evidence from the USA shows that 86 per cent of patients say they benefit from the meaningful conversations they have with clinicians; over 90% of clinicians who have taken part have changed their behaviour to adopt the process as part of their everyday clinical practice.
Dr Peter Kirkbride, National Lead for the Serious Illness Care programme UK and Medical Director of The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Being diagnosed with a serious illness can be devastating. There is evidence that having meaningful conversations as early as possible to identify the patient’s goals and priorities, and plan treatment around them, results in patients feeling more in control, less likely to feel anxious or depressed, and more satisfied with the care they receive.
“We are tremendously excited to be working with Ariadne Labs and Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute Liverpool to bring the programme to patients in the UK, and hope they will feel similar benefits to those in the USA.”
UK doctors will receive structured training and ongoing support in having serious illness conversations with suitable patients.
The programme is expected to launch in late 2016 and will be carefully monitored and evaluated to develop a UK evidence base on outcomes for patients.
Ariadne Labs (link to https://www.ariadnelabs.org/)
The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust (link to www.clatterbridgecc.nhs.uk)
Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute Liverpool (link to http://www.mcpcil.org.uk/)