Philipp Lenz

Philipp Lenz

University Hospital of Münster


Concept of a palliative care consult service at the University Hospital of Muenster


There is a demanding need for palliative care structures in every hospital, especially in an acute hospital setting. Recent studies could show that palliative care cannot only influence quality of life issues, but may also even improve patients´ outcome. A palliative care programme is therefore indispensable for a university hospital.
A recent review highlights the most important factors in end-of-life care: effective communication and shared decision-making, expert care, respectful and compassionate care and trust and confidence in clinicians.

The aim of this project is to elaborate the concept of a palliative care consult service (PCCS) and to evaluate this service at the University Hospital of Muenster.

An intensive literature review will be conducted. Closely modelled on the current German palliative care guidelines for oncological patients, a concept for the palliative care consult service will be developed. Internships in other institutions, which have already established a palliative care consult service, will be used to sharpen the design and organization of our service. A central part of the concept will be: 1.) Algorithm “patient referral, first assessment and patient workflow”, 2. SOPs “symptom control”, 3. SOP “Care for the dying”, 4. SOP “discharge and outpatient care”, 5. SOP “bereavement services”.

After initiating the PCCS in 2015 around 500 patients have already been seen and evaluated. The median age of all patients was 62 ± 15 years. The length of stay was 12 ± 10 days within the consult service. By conducting weekly multi-professional ward rounds and interdisciplinary team meetings, patient´s care could be adapted and optimized according to their individual needs. After 6 months, the PCCS was well accepted and requested by all different institutions at the University of Muenster.

A PCCS is an essential service to improve care for terminally ill patients. The design and concept of the PCCS will be developed and piloted within this project.