End of life care – one chance to get it right?

David Garbutt, Lecturer in End of Life Care, from the University of Salford, will be hosting this week’s ENB twitter chat on Wednesday the 3rd of December between 8-9pm focusing on ‘end of life care’ Participating in the twitter chat requires a Twitter account; if you do not already have one you can create an account at www.twitter.com. Once you have an account contributing is straightforward – follow the discussion by searching links to #ebnjc @EBNursingBMJ, or better still, create a tweet (tweets are text messages limited to 140 characters) to @EBNursingBMJ and add #ebnjc (the EBN chat hash tag) at the end of your tweet, this allows everyone taking part to view your tweets.

‘We’re at a turning point. End of life care is on the agenda. We have a chance, as never before, to get it right’. Tony Bonser, Chair of People in Partnership Group, NCPC and Dying Matters

The past 12 months have been a watershed for end of life care in the UK. Last year was the half-way point in the 10 year end of life care strategy. The Neuberger review into the Liverpool Care Pathway highlighted the variable practice in care for dying patients and families across the country. The subsequent One Chance to Get it Right document outlined the need to individualise care, to focus on the person and not the paperwork and put people and their families at the centre of decisions about their treatment and care. The Government in the Mandate to NHS England for 2014-15 has identified end of life care as a priority area ‘where the Govenment is expecting particular progress to be made’. However with the demise of the Liverpool Care Pathway, the challenges of addressing a sense of mistrust from certain areas of the popular press, and the developing discussions around physician assisted suicide for the terminally ill patient, new ways of delivering effective evidence based care to dying patients and their families must be developed. End of life care should be individualised yet consistent and underpinned by evidence is a fundamental right, so how can such care be commissioned, delivered, measured and improved for all dying patients? What challenges does the future hold? Is this an exciting and opportunistic time to refresh the end of life care agenda or will hard won momentum be lost in wake of restructuring and reordering?

Questions for consideration:

Despite 70% of the public stating they are comfortable talking about death, most have not discussed their end of life wishes or put plans in place. How can we make conversation about planning for our death normal?

What personal and professional development do nurses and other health and social care professionals require in order to deliver effective end of life care?

How can we meet the needs of all dying patients and their families, irrespective of their age, gender, geographical location and setting, disability, diagnosis, or long-term condition/s, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or ethnicity?

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