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Guidance to 'transform' hospital end of life care

Good communication between nurses and other staff is at the centre of guidance intended to “transform” end of life care in acute hospitals.

The document published today recommends that trusts develop an overarching plan to raise awareness of end of life issues across all wards, backed by a rapid discharge process for patients who choose to die at home.

The National End of Life Care Programme has jointly developed the document – called Transforming end of life care in acute hospitals: The route to success ‘how to’ guide – with the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement. As revealed by Nursing Times earlier this month, the guidance applies the productive ward model to end of life care.  

It centres on encouraging frontline staff to consider how services can be improved so patients can die with “dignity” in the setting of their choice after receiving care and treatment in accordance with their wishes. Ward leaders are identified as particularly important figures in this process.

The guide also places “communication at the heart of care”, citing the large number of health and social care professionals who need to share information effectively along the end of life care pathway.

End of life care programme deputy director Anita Hayes said: “This guide will help senior clinicians, particularly nurses, work with their colleagues to evaluate and reshape how people nearing the end of life are cared for and supported on their wards and the wider hospital.”  

The guide will be piloted over the next 12 months by 23 trusts involved in the Acute Hospitals End of Life Care Initiative, which began in January.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Albert's Mum

    'It centres on encouraging frontline staff to consider how services can be improved so patients can die with “dignity” in the setting of their choice after receiving care and treatment in accordance with their wishes.'

    and

    'Good communication between nurses and other staff is at the centre of guidance intended to “transform” end of life care in acute hospitals.'

    The bit clinicians find difficult, isn't discussing things between themselves, but discussing dying with the patient - it is the 'be honest and open with patients' aspect which needs addressing in order to facilitate patient choice.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Reppu | 28-Feb-2012 10:29 am

    I would imagine that staff are able to place themselves on a Palliative Care or a Bereavement Care course within their Trust or at their local hospice, which will provide the necessary communication skills in answering/dealing with "difficult questions." They do at the Trust where I work.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • Albert's Mum

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b00t97xc

    The link above is to a BBC Radio 4 Inside The Ethics Committee programme (when I paste that into my browser, it comes up playing), and listening to that programme should probably be mandatory for all inexperienced nurses involved in EoLC, and for all paramedics.

    Unlike most NHS-generated EoL material, the programme approaches the issues from a true multi-perspective postion, and the legal expert the programme used very clearly explains the law in some areas clinicians often don't properly understand.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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