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The end-of-life care strategy must support nurses in care home settings

The care home sector is starting to receive more recognition and the value of the work done by its nurses is finally beginning to be recognised.

I have recently been involved in developing the government’s end-of-life care strategy, due to be published in the summer. It was clear from the development of the strategy that care homes have the potential to take a much greater role in delivering sensitive and qualitative end-of-life experiences for residents and their families. Nurses in care settings are important as leaders of this work, and it is vital that they are supported properly. Such support does exist, and I would urge care homes to access the Gold Standards Framework and Liverpool Care Pathway. Using both of these tools can make a real difference to end-of-life care.

But more needs to be done. The issue of medical and in particular GP support to care homes is one that has been neglected for too long. Primary care providers have got to start being more inclusive in their approach to care home residents. This is particularly important for nurses in the sector, who need to be able to work with GPs to ensure the medical needs of residents are met.

The development of a dementia strategy will help promote the value of care homes, as many residents suffer from some form of dementia. Anyone in a position to influence the strategy must ensure it supports the role of nurses in care settings.

Martin Green,
chief executive,
English Community Care Association (ECCA)

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