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New teams chosen for better end of life care scheme

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Nineteen health and care teams have been chosen to take part in the latest phase of a pioneering programme aimed at improving end of life care.

The Living Well to the Very End programme, run by the Point of Care Foundation, focuses on developing patient and family centred care.

“We look forward to seeing how learning can be shared and spread more widely”

Gill Clayton

Last year, the independent charity supported eight teams to make improvements to services by delving into patient experiences and finding out what matters most to them and their loved ones. They included some examples of the practical changes that nurses could achieve through the project.

For example, a sympathy card from the ward staff to family member following the death of a patient, with a personalised message from the nurse who cared for that patient, and providing the contact details for the ward sister and matron so that families could initiate contact if they had any questions or feedback.

Another involved a swan sticker being placed in medical/nursing notes when end of life was recognised. It identified key components in end of life care, provided a checklist and prompt to continue individualised care planning and promoted a consistent approach among all staff involved in the patients’ care.

Other examples included nurses regularly attending meetings with families alongside the doctors where end of life is discussed, improved availability of fold-out bed for relatives, as well as tea, coffee and meals available on the ward and long-term parking permits for families, and training on end of life care medication and syringe drivers for nursing staff, with prompts to ensure earlier prescribing.

This time round 19 teams from a range of trusts, independent providers and a clinical commissioning group will take part in the scheme, funded by the Health Foundation and supported by NHS England.

Point of Care Foundation

New teams chosen for better end of life care scheme

Bev Fitzsimons

“The great thing about this programme is that many of the improvements, which are very beneficial to patients, do not take significant time or money for staff to implement,” said Bev Fitzsimons, head of improvement at the Point of Care Foundation.

“The changes we see often look simple but it is only by having the time to take a step back that staff are able to notice seemingly small things, such as practical aspects which add extra stress at an already difficult time,” she said.

Gill Clayton, programme manager at the Health Foundation, said “tangible improvements” had been made by organisations that have taken part in the scheme to date.

“As more organisations join the initiative in this next phase, we look forward to seeing how learning can be shared and spread more widely so that we can continue improving the vital care people receive at the end of their lives,” she said.

The 19 organisations in the 2017 cohort are:

  • Aintree University Hospital Foundation Trust
  • Aneurin Bevan University Health Board
  • Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals Foundation Trust
  • Bromley Care Coordination St. Christopher’s Hospice and the Princess Royal University Hospital Bromley
  • Central Manchester University Hospitals Foundation Trust, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital
  • Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust
  • London Northwest Healthcare Trust
  • North Bristol Trust
  • Northern Devon Healthcare Trust
  • Nottinghamshire Health Care Foundation Trust
  • Plymouth Hospitals Trust
  • Princess Alexandra Hospital Trust
  • Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability, Putney, London
  • Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust
  • Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Worcestershire Health and Care Trust
  • BrendonCare
  • Canford Chase, Colten Care
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