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The ‘perfect’ death

By using advance directives, nurses can help to initiate conversations between patients and families.

By using advance directives, nurses can help to initiate conversations between patients and families.

Last December the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2015) published a guideline recommending that patients approaching the end of life should receive individualised care.

In practice, this has seen nurses elevated from clinicians to communicators, who enable relatives to understand the ‘perfect death’ envisaged by their loved ones.

The essence of good nursing is to go beyond the clinical and, when it comes to caring for those whose lives are limited, talking can be one of the most effective treatments.

Patients facing imminent death, or who have longer or indeterminate prognoses, will invariably be in environments where their clinical needs are catered for. Care and attention to ensure their last weeks, days or hours are comfortable and pain-free are prerequisites.

But equally important is the part played by nurses

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