#TOTW (from 20-10-14): ‘Do not resuscitate’ patient controversy

For this week’s #TOTW i’ve chosen to highlight the issue of DNR or Do Not Resuscitate notices in patient’s notes:

‘Do not resuscitate’ patient controversy

This is a really interesting clip from a regional BBC Inside Out programme (the link to which is provided in the link above). It talks about the issues involved in raising this with patients and their families, and the distress that can result from it not be handled with compassion and sensitivity. I thought it interesting that one of the relatives noted that the person that came to discuss the matter with them did not even introduce themselves. This is not only disappointing and insensitive – under the circumstances – but down right rude and contrary to most health care professionals codes of conduct. It is a basic and common courtesy to introduce yourself to your patient.

Please take the time to watch the short (only 4 mins) clip, and maybe even watch the full Inside out programme to learn a bit more about DNR notices and how you or members of your family may be affected by them.

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#TOTW (from 15-10-14): Dying at home patients ‘lack 24-hour expert support’

This week’s #TOTW was either going to be about assisted dying (a topic I have visited many times in the past) or the lack of care provided for those who choose to die at home – I went for the latter, so I chose:

Dying at home patients ‘lack 24-hour expert support’

Bee Wee, NHS England’s national clinical director for end of life care, said: “Over the past year we have been working hard to make changes and move towards a palliative care service that gives everyone a choice about how and where they spend their final days. “It is really important that dying people, and those close to them, have access to care, support and advice whenever they need it, so we support this as an important issue to address.”

This is the very least we should do to support those that have the opportunity to, and so choose to die at home. It’s a very sad state of affairs that those who wish to choose the timing of their death are either driven to suicide or if they have the capability to travel to Switzerland to end their lives in a manner of their own choosing, and those who wish to die in the “comfort” of their own homes surrounded by loved ones don’t appear to be getting the total support they need and deserve from the NHS.

Having said this, however, according to the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance the UK has some of the best end-of-life care in the world.

There is always room for improvement. and particularly in such an important area as end-of-life care.

#TOTW (from: 12/10/14) ‘Northern Ireland abortion law: public consultation on proposed changes’

This week’s #TOTW I chose simply because I am currently doing a lot of reading in and around the topic of abortion for my first uni assignment and I happened across this:

‘Northern Ireland law: public consultation on proposed changes

Abortion laws being different over in Northern Ireland than in other parts of the UK, I thought this was an interesting piece on the possibility of the Northern Ireland Government changing the law to allow abortion under certain circumstances, namely that of the unborn foetus having a lethal abnormality, or in cases of pregnancy that result from rape.

This is rather an emotive subject, and one which I am “enjoying” reading about and learning the different viewpoints both for and against allowing abortion to take place. I don’t as of yet really have an opinion on the matter, other than that which I have picked up over the years, mostly from the media. Having never studied the subject before I don’t feel able to agree or disagree with the rights and or wrongs of abortion. Suffice as to say, I think that it is the kind of matter that needs some reasoned knowledge before an opinion is given.

As i’m learning on my uni course, it’s all very well to say you agree or disagree with something – in this case abortion – but to be taken seriously, then you really need to have the reasons behind why you have a particular stance when looking at the ethics of something like this. So, if you don’t really know anything about abortion, other than what you have “learned” from the media, then take a look at this piece and maybe do a bit of research into the subject matter yourself!

Go on…you might learn something…I certainly am doing!

#TOTW (from: 29-09-14) ‘Elderly patients denied the right care, surgeons warn’

Back to one of my most favoured topics this week – care of the elderly – with this #TOTW:

Elderly patients denied the right care, surgeons warn

A poll by the Royal College of Surgeons that found many of it’s members believe the care given to the elderly after discharge from hospital is inadequate:

“Clare Marx, the President of the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) said too many frail and confused elderly patients were being left bewildered by equipment they did not know how to use, and lists of telephone numbers to organise their own help. She said the failings appear to be fuelling soaring levels of patients being readmitted to hospital as an emergency case.”

“There is a lot of confusion, often with older people, and those with dementia, if they don’t have someone to advocate for them and make sure they get the care they need,” she said.

Clearly if this is the case then it is completely unacceptable. More support needs to be put in place for those that don’t have friends or family around to be able to help out. Surely this is where we would see benefits from the proposals to combine health and social care?!

Joined-up thinking…or simply common sense?!

Let me know what you think!