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J Nurs Manag. 2006 Oct;14(7):521-8.

The development of an Integrated Care Pathway for all patients with advanced life-limiting illness - the Supportive Care Pathway.

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Project Lead-Supportive Care Pathway, Pan Birmingham Palliative Care Network, Birmingham, UK.



To describe the development and implementation of an Integrated Care Pathway for all patients with advanced life-limiting illness who have been admitted to hospital.


This pathway, called the Supportive Care Pathway, has been developed not only in response to the national drivers to improve end of life care, but also in recognition of local survey data which demonstrated the need for strategies to support the provision of palliative care. The pathway is aimed primarily at generalist staff who may have a significant number of patients with palliative care needs on their wards, though not necessarily yet in the last days of life.


The pathway, which is being piloted on three elderly care wards in the West Midlands, has been developed in line with accepted Integrated Care Pathway methodology and is being evaluated using the Integrated Care Pathways Assessment Tool.


The pathway has been well received by staff using it and early evaluation of its effect in improving documentation of care is encouraging.


Unacceptable variations in care for those nearing the end of life is recognized. It is believed that the use of the Supportive Care Pathway may help to reduce that variation by identifying and supporting patients thought to be in the last year of their life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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