New end of life guidelines that put the patient first are welcomed by senior Herts health professionals
PUBLISHED: 08:30 04 January 2016
Senior figures in the provision of health care in Herts have welcomed new guidelines which aim to put a dying person at the heart of decisions about their care, so that they can be supported in their final days in accordance with their wishes.
The Herts Community NHS Trust provides a wide range of adult and children’s services including community nurses, who work with specialists in palliative and end of life care to support and look after people in their final days.
There are more than 9,000 deaths in Hertfordshire every year and the majority of these are not unexpected.
Associate medical director Dr Carol Scholes is also a Macmillan consultant in palliative medicine and passionate about ensuring everyone who is approaching the end of their life can have a real say in how and where they want to die, including the treatment and medication they receive.
She said: “I welcome the emphasis on a more personalised approach to care in the last few days of life, which fits very well with our approach to all care provided by HCT.
“We have already started staff training in end of life care to ensure all our staff recognise when someone is coming to the end of their life. We are supporting staff to feel confident to discuss it with patients and their family and give individualised care at such an important time.”
Until recently, the National Health Service used the Liverpool Care Pathway in a bid to provide good end of life care across the UK but it was scrapped following widespread criticism and a subsequent government review that found failings in several areas.
The new guidelines, which aim to tackle the shortcomings and other issues by providing recommendations for the care of a person who is nearing death, have also been welcomed by the team at Keech Hospice Care, which provides hospice and care services to seriously ill children across the county.
Acting chief executive Liz Searle said: “We welcome the NICE guidance and provided evidence to the Institute to help shape the new advice.
“We believe palliative and end of life care is a priority for everybody, particularly commissioners who are responsible for funding services to ensure people who need it get the care they deserve at a time in their lives they need it most.
“We are committed to always providing individual care as agreed with our patients and their families.
“We agree with NICE that a tick box approach is not suitable when there is only once chance to get things right for patients and their loved ones.”