The End of Life Care Strategy

‘How we care for the dying is an indicator of how we care for all sick and vulnerable people. It is a measure of society as a whole and it is a litmus test for health and social care services.’1

Although the subject of dying is often painful to contemplate and as a society we do not discuss death and dying openly, the way care professionals approach the process is incredibly important for the client, their family and carers. The Department of Health has published a Strategy for every organisation involved in providing end of life care. Each will be expected to adopt an overall coordination process, such as the Gold Standards Framework, whilst developing the best possible outcome for clients.

Those being cared for will have the opportunity to discuss their personal needs and preferences
with professionals who will be supporting them. These will be recorded in an Advance Care Plan
so that every supporting service will be aware of the client’s wishes.

All health and social care staff must be trained in communication regarding end of life care and
will be trained accordingly in assessing the needs of clients and carers.

Programmes available include:

The Gold Standards Framework (GSF)
This can be used in various settings, for example hospitals, primary care and care homes, to improve the co-ordination and communication between different organisations involved in providing care for someone near the end of their life.

‘Preferred Priorities for Care’ (PPC)
This document is an example of an Advance Statement and is designed to help people prepare for the future and gives them an opportunity to think about, talk about and write down their
preferences and priorities for care at the end of life.

Despite general reluctance to broach this sensitive area, it is worthwhile asking potential care providers their approach to end of life care and whether they are following national strategies for implementing best practice within their home.

Useful websites – End of Life Care

Compassionate Communities
Aims to help people develop the skills to address issues raised by end of life and other losses; and be a helpful, empathetic ear.
Web: www.compassionatecommunities.org.uk

Dying Matters
Set up by the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC), the coalition aims to promote awareness of dying, death and bereavement. The website has a comprehensive support section.
Web: www.dyingmatters.org

NHS Local
NHS Local has a section on end of life, including contact details for helpful organisations, suggestions of issues you may need to think about at end of life and videos people have sent in listing five things they want to do before they die.
Web: http://nhslocal.nhs.uk

Marie Curie Cancer Care
Provides free nursing care to cancer patients and those with other terminal illnesses in their own homes.
Web: www.mariecurie.org.uk

1 ‘End of Life Care Strategy – promoting high quality care for all
adults at the end of life’ April 2008. Department of Health.