End of life: new standards promise measurable care improvements in the community

Nurses in participating general practices will be adopting the Daffodil Standards 

Nurses in participating general practices will be adopting the Daffodil Standards 

The Marie Curie/Royal College of GPs Daffodil Standards encourage multidisciplinary working. 

Nurses can help improve end of life care in the community as part of a drive to improve standards and encourage general practice teams to discuss the issue.

The Marie Curie charity and the Royal College of GPs have developed care standards – called Daffodil Standards – that include reflective learning exercises and steps to improve care quality.

Participating GP practices will display a ‘daffodil mark’ as a sign of their commitment to eight quality improvement standards for the care they give to patients who have an advanced, serious illness or are at the end of their lives, as well as their loved ones.

Standards include:

  • Having professional and competent staff by ensuring they understand their roles and responsibilities for advanced serious illness and end of life care.
  • Early identification of patients and carers by understanding how to identify people who may be approaching the end of life.
  • Carer support, before and after death by identifying carers, providing information and support to them about the patient's illness and assessing their own needs.
  • Seamless, planned, coordinated care by having multidisciplinary team meetings, communicating with staff across care settings and monitoring quality of care provided to people who died over the year.

Emphasis on multidisciplinary communication

Marie Curie director of nursing and quality Julie Pearce said: 'The beauty of the standards is they’re designed to bring everyone together across the GP practice to talk about and plan a better way of coordinating care.'

Ms Pearce added that staff at practices in a pilot of the standards found that by spending four to five hours per month together using the improvement materials, they have been able to make significant, measurable improvements.

Royal College of GPs chair Helen Stokes-Lampard said: 'We hope these standards go a long way in supporting GPs, their teams, and, of course, our patients.'

A ComRes survey of 1,005 GPs found two-thirds (62%) felt there were not adequate community resources to give carers of terminally ill or dying patients the emotional support they need.

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