Steps must be taken to continue the existing commitment to end of life care and give patients meaningful choices about where they are to die, a report by the King’s Fund says.
Delivering Better Care at End of Life: the next steps seeks to ensure levels of care remain a priority for clinicians and policy makers, despite the difficult financial climate.
The report, delivered by a group of leaders in end of life care, also outlines recommendations to help provide patients with high quality care at the end of their lives.
- guaranteeing every patient 24 hour access to someone who can meet their need for care within one hour
- giving professionals the confidence to talk to patients and carers about the end of life
- ensuring commissioners identify the outcomes they wish to see from local providers with the funding available, not just choosing the cheapest option
- ensuring commissioners establish a base of national evidence on cost-effectiveness and evaluate new models of care so they can have the confidence to make changes
King’s Fund acting chief executive Anna Dixon said: “There is an urgent need for clinicians, commissioners, users and carers to work together to develop innovative and pragmatic ways to provide care that is responsive to the needs of individuals and their families, and that offers value for money. This is not the time for cutting back, but for investing wisely to increase quality and reduce cost.”
Macmillan Cancer Support chief executive Ciaran Devane said: “A lack of access to community nursing can lead to problems with planning end of life care, symptom control or support for carers and without these in place, patients are much less likely to have as good a death as they want. We welcome any move that genuinely supports cancer patients to die where they choose.”