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Guidelines say end of life care must be prioritised

18th July 2011

Guidelines have been published which recommend that healthcare commissioners give palliative care top priority to make sure patients' needs are met and to prevent unneeded hospital admissions.

Old Hands

The advice was published by the National Council for Palliative Care and the National End of Life Care Programme.

It includes recommendations such as making sure GPs identify patients who may die in the next year, making sure health workers are aware of how to speak to people about palliative care, putting a board member in charge of palliative care and making an agreement concerning local needs for end of life care.

The publication comes after the report of the independent palliative care funding review, which showed "stunning inequalities" in palliative care across England.

The charity said 70% of people say they wanted to end their lives in their own homes, but around half still die in hospital.

Many of those deaths happened after the patient was admitted to Accident and Emergency unnecessarily.

The National Audit Office said 40% of people did not have a "medical need" to be in hospital.

Eve Richardson, chief executive of the National Council for Palliative Care and the Dying Matters Coalition said: "Too many people towards the end of their lives are being needlessly admitted to hospital against their wishes, causing unnecessary pain and suffering."

"We only get once chance to get end of life care right for people who are dying which is why commissioners must ensure high quality end of life care and support is available for all those who need it, where and when they need it." 

 

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