News

Minister’s plan for better end of life care

End of life care improvements include proposal for round-the-clock key contact for patients and families
Ben Gummer

Dying patients will have round-the-clock access to a nurse or other palliative care professional as part of plans to improve end of life care.

Palliative care professionals will help patients or families who might need support with symptom control or deterioration late at night or at the weekend, promises health minister Ben Gummer. They will also be on hand to answer questions of fellow healthcare workers who might need support.

Ben Gummer. Picture: Getty

The move is one of several announced by the government to improve end of life care in England. These include a renewed focus on improving training in end of life care for nurses and doctors.

Areas of improvement

The government has set out six ways it hopes end of life care will be improved by 2020, in response to an independent review that found many patients do not receive care

Dying patients will have round-the-clock access to a nurse or other palliative care professional as part of plans to improve end of life care.

Palliative care professionals will help patients or families who might need support with symptom control or deterioration late at night or at the weekend, promises health minister Ben Gummer. They will also be on hand to answer questions of fellow healthcare workers who might need support.

Ben Gummer. Picture: Getty

The move is one of several announced by the government to improve end of life care in England. These include a renewed focus on improving training in end of life care for nurses and doctors.

Areas of improvement

The government has set out six ways it hopes end of life care will be improved by 2020, in response to an independent review that found many patients do not receive care that fulfils their individual needs and wishes.

The six improvements are:

  • Honest discussions between care professionals and dying patients
  • Patients making informed choices about their care
  • Personalised care plans for all
  • Discussion of personalised care plans with care professionals
  • Involvement of family and carers in patients’ care
  • Availability of a key contact so dying people and their families know who to contact at any time of day or night

Mr Gummer said: ‘Our commitment is that every person nearing the end of their life should expect attentive, dignified and compassionate care.

‘People need to feel comfortable and confident discussing their choices with health and social care staff, and their wishes and preferences with their families. Having their preferences recorded once, and having a single point of contact to coordinate care, will make a difference.’

Training programmes

The Department of Health’s Our Commitment to You for End of Life Care document highlights the need for end of life care to be part of undergraduate nursing degrees and continuing professional training programmes.

It added that all staff involved with dying patients should be capable of having difficult conversations about death and dying and providing opportunities to develop, review and update personalised care plans with dying patients.

The document states: ‘We must ensure all staff responsible for the care of people nearing the end of life are skilled not only in specific clinical interventions, but also receive training to support the often sensitive conversations they will need to have with dying people and those important to them.’

The plans were welcomed by Macmillan Cancer Support chief executive Lynda Thomas.

She said: ‘Better training and education for nurses and healthcare professionals on end of life care could make a huge difference to those at the end of their lives.’

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first three months:

  • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Nursing Standard
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs