NHS Wales nurses delivering palliative care are to receive improved training plus better people support and end of life communication skills.
The expectations of staff nursing the terminally ill have been set out by the Welsh government.
The “Delivering End of Life Care” plan sets out to improve how people in Wales will be supported and cared for at the end of their lives.
The Welsh government wants sector staff working for NHS Wales and its partners to make palliative care consistently good across the country.
Central to its plans are ensuring that professionals and families work together to plan for the end of life, and that people are well-supported, wherever they choose to die.
The plan specifically aims to:
- improve training for health professionals delivering end of life care in the community
- develop the skills required to support people wherever they choose to die
- improve communication skills to enable discussions about the end of life with individuals and their families
- seek the opinions of individuals about their care to feed back and ensure continuous improvement in end of life care.
- The proposals build on the achievements of the Palliative Care Implementation Board.
These include ensuring every health board can access specialist palliative care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, delivering education programmes for GPs and nursing home staff and ensuring care pathways put the viewpoints of the patient and their relative at the centre of care.
Health minster Mark Drakeford said that maintaining an individual’s dignity in their last days of life is vital.
This can be achieved, he said, by having open and honest chats about the end of life and providing support to people and their families to plan for the end of life.
Mr Drakeford added: “How well we care for our dying reflects how we care as a society. Inequalities at the end of life are as unacceptable as inequalities in life.”
Simon Jones, Head of Policy and Public Affairs for Marie Curie Cancer Care in Wales, said: “As an organisation, we welcome the Welsh Government’s plan on palliative care in Wales.
“We are particularly pleased with the emphasis on providing palliative care via integrated working between the NHS, local government and third sector providers, which will allow terminally ill patients easier access to the care they need.
Susan Morris, General Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales, said: “Macmillan welcomes the Welsh Government’s new End of Life Care Delivery Plan, the first comprehensive strategy on end of life care in Wales.
“We hope that this plan will lead to an improvement in the quality and consistency of palliative and end of life care across Wales.”
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