Comment

Best possible care for prisoners at the end of life

A team at HM Prison Norwich have received a prestigious award for high quality palliative care
Prison

A team at HM Prison Norwich have received a prestigious award for high quality palliative care

L wing at HM Prison Norwich is not a conventional setting for healthcare. It is home to 15 prisoners with extra and palliative care needs, including dementia and cancer.

In September, the prisons healthcare team received the Gold Standards Framework (GSF) Quality Hallmark Award. It marked the first national recognition of a prison for care provided to prisoners in the final months of their lives.

As a member of the team, I am proud of this recognition because it demonstrates that healthcare services can provide a good death in all environments.

Experience

The team is made up of two nurses and four healthcare assistants. Most of us have a community nursing background and we draw on our experience when seeking ways

...

A team at HM Prison Norwich have received a prestigious award for high quality palliative care

Prison
Picture: Getty Images

L wing at HM Prison Norwich is not a conventional setting for healthcare. It is home to 15 prisoners with extra and palliative care needs, including dementia and cancer. 

In September, the prison’s healthcare team received the Gold Standards Framework (GSF) Quality Hallmark Award. It marked the first national recognition of a prison for care provided to prisoners in the final months of their lives.

As a member of the team, I am proud of this recognition because it demonstrates that healthcare services can provide a good death in all environments. 

Experience

The team is made up of two nurses and four healthcare assistants. Most of us have a community nursing background and we draw on our experience when seeking ways to care for prisoners. 

In using the GSF tools we are confident we can identify people approaching the end of life at the earliest possible opportunity and plan their care according to their wishes.

We run the unit along similar lines to a nursing home, albeit within restrictions, and are fortunate to have specialist equipment including two syringe drivers, and X-ray and ultrasound machines. There are also plans to provide patients with on-site dialysis. 

Admissions

Our ability to use such equipment means we can provide prisoners with the care they want, where they want it, until the end of life, and reduces the need for hospital admissions.

Further proof of the quality of care comes from the prisoners. Almost all refuse the offer of compassionate release, which could see them sent home or elsewhere to die. They know the care here is second to none and they regard it as their home.

About the author

Scott Ralph is lead nurse for Virgin Care at HM Prison Norwich healthcare team

 

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