College guidance strives to fill vacuum in end of life care protocol

Nurses have been calling for new guidance on caring for patients in the final days of life since the much-criticised Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) was withdrawn in 2013.

The LCP, which sometimes involved the withdrawal of food and fluids, became a ‘toxic brand’, according to RCN end of life care lead Amanda Cheesley. This was largely fuelled by media coverage about some families that had not been told their loved ones were on the pathway, she says.

The subsequent appetite for better guidance in this area among RCN members became clear after a survey carried out by the college on the subject last September generated 8,000 responses in ten days.

At RCN congress in Bournemouth last week, nurses packed a conference hall to hear about two new pieces of guidance – one on the fundamentals of end of life care and another focusing on nutrition and hydration.

Opening the session, RCN fellows convenor and meeting chair Jane Denton said: ‘End of life care is of critical importance to all nurses in whatever capacity they are


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