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End of life care set for shake-up this year


29 July 2015

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Increased staff communication, improved record-keeping and individualised care plans look set to be enforced for patients reaching the end of their lives.

The draft guideline by NICE, which has been published for consultation, suggests that judgements on when end of life care begins will be made by a number of health experts, appropriate records must be kept and that individual care plans should be created for each individual.

Increased staff communication, improved record-keeping and individualised care plans look set to be enforced for patients reaching the end of their lives.

The draft guideline by NICE, which has been published for consultation, suggests that judgements on when end of life care begins will be made by a number of health experts, appropriate records must be kept and that individual care plans should be created for each individual.

The consultation follows the abolition of the Liverpool Care Pathway, a protocol for looking after people at the end of their life. This was phased out last year after a government-commissioned review found serious failings in how the pathway was being implemented.

Explaining why the protocol was phased out, Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE Chief Executive, said: “While it helped many to pass away with dignity, it became clear over time that it wasn’t always used in the way it was intended. Some families, for example, felt that elderly relatives were placed onto the pathway without their knowledge or consent.

The guideline says that people who are dying or those important to them should be fully involved in decisions about medicines for managing symptoms in the last days of life.

The guideline also recommends that healthcare professionals review a person’s medication and stop any medicines that are not providing symptomatic benefit.  Specialist palliative care advice should be sought if treatment does not seem to be working.

The consultation for the draft NICE guideline will remain open until Wednesday 9 September 2015, then comments will be reviewed, before the final guideline is published for NHS use.



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