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Reading: The GP OOH Palliative Care Handover Project


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The GP OOH Palliative Care Handover Project


Deirdre Shanagher ,

Irish Hospice Foundation, IE
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Marie Lynch,

Irish Hospice Foundation, IE
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Paul Gregan,

Blackrock Hospice & Deansgrange Medical Centre, IE
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Annette Heffernan,

SouthDoc, IE
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Eamon Shanahan

SouthDoc, IE
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Introduction: The need to develop a standardised information transfer process from GPs to the Out-of-hours (OOH) service for patients with palliative care needs was identified as a priority in the Irish Hospice Foundation Primary Palliative Care in Ireland(1) report and is supported by Kiely et al (2).

Description: A GP OOH Palliative Care handover form was developed and piloted in 2014 in Southdoc OOH service.

Aim: To pilot test the GP OOH Palliative Care handover form.

Population and Stakeholders: GPs and those working in the OOH service to include triage nurse, admin staff and GPs are the main stakeholders. This work also impacts on community specialist palliative care team, night nurses, residential centre nurses patients and family members.

Timeline: The pilot took place over a 6 month period. Recommendations are still being progressed

Highlights: The form was evaluated very positively with no changes being required

Use of the form has gained momentum with 5 services throughout the country using the form to aid communication between GPs and the OOH service.

Use of the form as been picked up within residential centres where it is recognised as a key way to communicate preferences to OOH GPs.

Sustainability: CAREDoc OOH service are working with the HSE to develop an e-version of the form that can more easily be rolled out to other OOH services for use.

Transferability: To assist with national roll out of the form SouthDoc information has been removed so that other services can use it easily.

Result: A validated tool is freely available for use

Conclusion: Use of the form aids communication between GPs and the OOH service by doing so continuity of care is supported.

Discussion: More research is needed to establish the impact of the form for people and their families in the community and supports continuity of care.

Lessons Learned: Earlier engagement with technology would increase speed at which the form could be rolled out.


1- Irish Hospice Foundation, Health Service Executive, Irish College of General Practitioners. Primary Palliative Care in Ireland Identifying improvements in primary care to support the care of those in their last year of life [Internet]. Irish Hospice Foundation; Available from:

2- Kiely F, Murphy M, O’Brien T. Information transfer to out-of-hours co-operatives: a survey of general practitioners’ views in relation to palliative patients. BMJ Support Palliat Care. 2013;3:405–11.

How to Cite: Shanagher D, Lynch M, Gregan P, Heffernan A, Shanahan E. The GP OOH Palliative Care Handover Project. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2017;17(5):A117. DOI:
Published on 17 Oct 2017.


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