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DH reproached over surveying bereaved

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The Department of Health risks sidelining dying people by opting to survey bereaved relatives about care, instead of the patients themselves, a nursing academic has said.

The NHS Outcomes Framework, published last month, sets out indicators that the DH will use to judge service performance.

The DH said “improving the experience of care for people at the end of their lives” would be assessed.

However, the framework suggests it is not possible to do this by asking dying patients themselves for their views on their care.

Instead it says: “A new survey of bereaved carers will be used to understand the experience of the person at the end of their life, and of their wider family.”

The survey is due to be introduced in April next year.

But Sally Brearley, visiting fellow at the national nursing research unit at King’s College London, said methods of measuring dying patients’ experience of their care were emerging.

She told Nursing Times that these should be developed instead of relying on relatives or carers’ views.

Ms Brearley said: “Dying in hospital is disenfranchising enough already. Nurses working in end of life care know there are already some very good measures [for directly measuring the experience of end of life care patients].”

The framework also adopts indicators that are directly influenced by the quality of nursing.

  • 2 Comments

Readers' comments (2)

  • I can understand why a survey would be developed for the bereaved relatives on one hand and as long as it is a point of view that is fine, very often the relatives do not know what is needed but only ever see what happens through their eyes whilst they are visiting. A survey of the dying person if they are fully able to cooperate if they so wish is much better as they can better gage the actual care received. I personally am all for improving care for the dying as I feel that more care and time is needed to care for this patient group and subsequently more nursing education is also required if the end of life strategy is going to be affective in all areas

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  • The extensive works of Elizabeth Kubler Ross are an invaluable resource which can be located on Google.

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