Trialling Personal Health Budgets for end of life care

Over the last year, BVSC has worked on a pilot commissioned by Public Health trialing Personal Health Budgets for end of life care.

Working in partnership with John Taylor Hospice, Heartlands Hospital and Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group we have supported 23 patients at end of life to have personalised care and support.

The aims of the pilot
The pilot sought to answer whether or not Personal Health Budgets at end of life led to improvements in:

  • patient and family experience
  • Patients being moved to a preferred place of death more rapidly
  • Cost effectiveness and efficiency

BVSC’s specific role in this project was to source and secure providers of non-essential, non-medical support for patients whose life expectancy was limited (12 weeks), and who met NHS criteria for fast track referral for palliative care, and were eligible for a Personal Health Budget (either directly or through the support of family members or a carer). In doing this BVSC has:

  • Supported patients to receive and access non-traditional healthcare.
  • Identified a range of appropriate providers and secured services on behalf of patients. This included, facilitating purchases and payments.
  • Ensured that purchased provision was provided to the patient’s satisfaction.

Conclusions of the evaluation report

Initial feedback and experience of the pilot has been positive. Whilst it was difficult to quantify in such a small study population, anecdotal evidence from patients, families and stakeholders suggests that tangible benefits to wellbeing can be gained by adopting PHB at end of life.

BVSC was able to source some excellent services, many from the voluntary sector, who were able to act quickly and efficiently.  All of the patients who received support through the project are felt to have benefitted significantly from having the opportunity to receive care and support at home instead of in hospital or a hospice – although their preferred place of death may have been at hospice.

The project made tangible improvements to patients’ and family members’ wellbeing and has the potential to improve end of life care. The relatives of patients have said that being able to access additional services such as cleaning, gardening or befrienders’ visits has enabled them to focus on spending quality time with their loved ones instead of being wrapped up in the routines of ‘caring’. The befriending service has been a positive for those patients who have no family or friends to talk to and it’s meant that they have not been so alone.