RCN congress

RCN launches new guidance on end of life care

Nutrition and hydration guidance for nurses caring for patients at the end of life has been launched by the RCN at its congress in Bournemouth.

The online resource, which has been developed in the last year following the withdrawal of the much-criticised Liverpool Care Pathway for dying patients, includes case studies, audio recordings and videos of interviews with families, and a number of recommendations that include making regular assessments of nutrition and hydration needs.

Chairing an event organised by RCN fellows and the RCN students committee to launch the resource, RCN fellow Jane Denton said: 'End of life care is of critical importance to all nurses in whatever capacity you are working.'

The nutrition and hydration guidance sits alongside a second online resource, Getting it Right Every Time – Fundamentals of Nursing at the End of Life, which was also presented at the fringe session and will be available from the end of July.

Speaking at the session, RCN fellow Dame Gill Oliver, who helped develop the resources, said: 'I don't know how many of you are comfortable communicating with a young woman who is going to die in a few weeks. The case studies and audio recordings give you a chance to rehearse.'

The launch of the resources coincided with the publication of a report by Marie Cure, the UK's leading charity for people with a terminal illness, on palliative care. Triggers for Palliative Care warns too many people at the end of life are not getting the care and support they need because of a lack of training among professionals.

RCN general secretary Peter Carter said Marie Curie's report is a 'timely reminder that expert palliative care does make a huge difference'.

He added: 'These new guidance documents are the result of some determined work by RCN's members who are absolutely committed to improving care for the dying. Nursing staff know there is a huge amount that can be done, and these resources will help staff deliver the best quality care, whether they treat dying patients every day or only infrequently.'

Click here to read RCN's nutrition and hydration guidance

For a full report on the RCN fellows event and more information on the resources see Nursing Standard July 1-8 2015.