#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.

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#TOTW (from 04/07/14): ‘One Chance to Get it Right’

This week seems to have been one where quite a bit about end-of-life care and assisted dying has been in the media, so my choice for #TOTW is:

‘One Chance to Get it Right’ for the care of people who are dying

This is such a massive and emotive topic that I can’t cover all the pros and cons in a little blog update like this. However, I just wanted to take the opportunity to highlight the topic once again and give the chance for people to maybe take a quick look at the link and to consider some of the information – what it means to them personally and to those around them – friends and family for example. I’d love for it to spark some thought about the topic and maybe even discussion amongst you and your friends and family.

The Department of Health has launched a report (quick summary of the main points below) into the needs of people who are dying, their needs and those around them, and they are to be known as #Priorities for Care:

The new Priorities for Care mean that:

  • The possibility that a person may die within the coming days and hours is recognised and communicated clearly, decisions about care are made in accordance with the person’s needs and wishes, and these are reviewed and revised regularly by doctors and nurses.
  • Sensitive communication takes place between staff and the person who is dying and those important to them.
  • The dying person, and those identified as important to them, are involved in decisions about treatment and care.
  • The people important to the dying person are listened to and their needs are respected.
  • Care is tailored to the individual and delivered with compassion – with an individual care plan in place.

The aim is to promote a stronger culture of compassion in the NHS and social care – one that puts people and their families at the centre of decisions about their treatment and care.

As ever, i’d love for you to take a look at the link and give the matter some thought. Feedback and discussion are always welcome!

Take care…

Ben