Ensuring patients get the best possible care at the end of their life is the focus of a conference in North Lincolnshire this week.
Health professionals including doctors, nurses and GPs will be at the launch of a new approach to caring for dying people based on the needs and wishes of the person and those close to them.
After a national review in 2013 the Liverpool Care Pathway was withdrawn from use in the NHS and the government issued guidance called ‘one chance to get it right’ which set out five key care priorities* when caring for patients in their last days.
The community end of life team at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust are holding an end of life conference on Thursday to launch the new way of working.
Speakers on the day will include the Trust’s lead palliative care practitioner, Dr Ann Morris, and a Staffordshire man who speaks to health professionals across the country about improving the quality of end of life care and bereavement support following the loss of his daughter to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in May 2008.
Helen Mumby, Macmillan end of life nurse, will be opening the conference. She said: “Nationally the NHS has been given these five key priorities which must be adopted as part of your local care plan. We’re launching a pilot of ‘care in the last days of life’ a document which sets out the guiding principles for care at the end of life.
“The new approach focuses on giving compassionate care and is a move away from previous processes and protocols. It recognises that in many cases, enabling the individual to plan for death should start well before a person reaches the end of their life and should be an integral part of personalised and proactive care.
“It’s about quality, consistent care for people in the last few days and hours of life.”
The care plan is being trialled on some wards at Scunthorpe and Grimsby hospitals, in community services in North Lincolnshire and some care homes. In other areas staff are continuing to follow end of life care principles.
The priorities for care are that, when it is thought that a person may die within the next few days or hours:
1. this possibility is recognised and communicated clearly, decisions made and actions taken in accordance with the person’s needs and wishes, and these are regularly reviewed and decisions revised accordingly.
2. Sensitive communication takes place between staff and the dying person, and those identified as important to them.
3. the dying person, and those identified as important to them, are involved in decisions about treatment and care to the extent that the dying person wants.
4. the needs of families and others identified as important to the dying person are actively explored, respected and met as far as possible
5. an individual plan of care, which includes food and drink, symptom control and psychological, social and spiritual support, is agreed, co-ordinated and delivered with compassion. Identifies clear symptoms of a patient coming to the end of their life and what you need to do to manage the symptoms