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29.07.15

NICE drafts ‘improved’ end-of-life care guidance

NICE has drafted new guidance proposals to support end-of-life care in the NHS following the abolition of the controversial Liverpool Care Pathway.

It aims to place the individual and their loved ones at the heart of decisions surrounding their care by helping doctors and nurses identify when someone is nearing their final few days. The draft also provides guidance about common symptoms that may be experienced at the end of life and relevant medication to prescribe.

The previous regime introduced in the 1990s, Liverpool Care Pathway, was scrapped after a government review found grave failings in protocol practice. Families were not properly informed about processes, staff were often inexperienced and some patients were left without water and food.

The new proposals are designed to address these failings by ensuring quality personalised care, clear communication and shared decision-making between a number of health experts rather than relying on just one doctor’s opinions. It also particularly focuses on fluid intake and encourages dying people to drink if they wish to.

Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE chief executive, said: “Recognising when we are close to death and helping us remain comfortable is difficult for everyone involved.

“The Liverpool Care Pathway was originally devised to help doctors and nurses provide quality end-of-life care. 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 guidance we are developing will ensure that people who are nearing the end of their lives are treated with respect and receive excellent care.”

The decision following a statement from the parliamentary and health service ombudsman saying that better end of life care could help 335,000 people every year in England.

Consultation on the draft will remain open until 9 September and comments will be reviewed before a final guideline is published.

Comments

Colin Aldred   29/07/2015 at 15:45

I hope that this new guideline is more informative than "The Liverpool Pathway" this was a cruel way to treat Patients in their last days, refusing them food and water when they most definitely were thirsty, having to drink water from the flower vases that were left by their bedside, that is no way to treat end of life Pateints in the 21st century, we must be more caring and observant with the Patients needs.

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