New teams chosen for end of life care project

A project to improve the care of people at the end of life by emphasising patient experience has selected 19 teams to join.

A project to improve the care of people at the end of life by emphasising patient experience has selected 19 teams to join.


Last year, independent charity the Point of Care Foundation supported eight teams on its Living Well to the Very End programme (LWVE).

The new cohort of multi-disciplinary healthcare teams is funded by the Health Foundation and supported by NHS England.

Oxford University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust ward sister Frances Riley was involved in the LWVE programme in 2016.

Her ward made a number of practical changes, including:

  • Drawing up an updated written procedure, drafted and owned by ward nurses, for the care of each patient’s body after death.
  • Ensuring nurses attend regular meetings with families and doctors when end of life care is discussed.
  • Providing training on end of life medication and syringe drivers for nursing staff, with prompts to ensure early prescribing.
  • Sending a sympathy card from ward staff to family members on the death of a patient, with a personalised message from the nurse who cared for the patient.

Ms Riley said that being involved in the project had given her ward a good opportunity to focus on end of life care.

‘We spent every week of the year doing it, and trying to achieve it has really meant something to the ward.’

Engaging doctors

Ms Riley said one challenge had been engaging doctors in the process.

‘We are a nurse-led team and it has been difficult to get the doctors’ involvement in some of the care we give and getting them to help us with our decision making.’

Ms Riley advises new LWVE teams to allow themselves plenty of time and emphasised how important regular weekly or bi-weekly meetings had been to the project’s success. 

The Point of Care Foundation head of improvement Bev Fitzsimons said: ‘The great thing about this programme is that many of the improvements that are beneficial to patients do not take significant time or money for staff to implement.

‘The changes we see look simple, but it is only by having the time to take a step back that staff can notice seemingly small things, such as practical aspects that add stress at an already difficult time.

‘These are incredibly important changes that can be underestimated when outcome measures focus on clinical care.’

Successful organisations

The organisations chosen to take part in the 2017 LWVE programme are:

  • Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.
  • Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Bromley Care Coordination, St. Christopher’s Hospice and the Princess Royal University Hospital Bromley.
  • Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
  • London Northwest Healthcare NHS Trust.
  • North Bristol NHS Trust.
  • Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust.
  • Nottinghamshire HealthCare NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust.
  • Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust.
  • Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability, Putney, London
  • Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.
  • Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust
  • Brendonare.
  • Canford Chase, Colten Care.

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