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.