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Hospice UK responds to new NICE guidance on the care of dying adults

On Wednesday (December 16) the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) publishes new guidance entitled: Care of dying adults in the last days of life.

The guidance aims to address many of the concerns raised by the independent review of the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) and gives a framework for healthcare professionals to provide people with the best possible care in their last days of life. The LCP was phased out in July 2014

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Commenting on the new guidance, The Rt. Hon. Lord Howard of Lympne, Chair of Hospice UK, said:

“Caring for dying people can be emotional and challenging and this new guidance outlines a holistic approach to help doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to provide the best possible care.

“However, the real challenge will be how this guidance is put into practice. There can never be ‘a tick-list approach’ towards caring for the dying and this guidance must be underpinned by greater investment in training and education for all staff involved in end of life care. This is crucial if we are to avoid the failings of how the Liverpool Care Pathway was implemented.

“All staff need to be trained in caring for dying people and their families, and Health Education England urgently needs to take up the gauntlet on this front – in July this year, the Royal College of Nursing reported that a quarter of nurses surveyed had no specific training in end of life care, despite regularly supporting dying people. There also needs to be deep-seated cultural shift within the NHS, if doctors and nurses are to provide more compassionate, responsive care that is genuinely centred on dying people’s needs.

“Many hospices are already providing training to health and social care staff which is transforming care for dying people. Hospices are also providing alternative care for those who do not wish to die in hospital but prefer to be in a hospice or their own home.

“The NHS needs to do more to harness the longstanding expertise of the hospice sector if the aspirations of this guidance are to become a reality and radically improve care for dying people.”

The Hospice of the Good Shepherd, located in Backford, Chester provided end of life and specialist palliative care to over 1600 people this year and over 2000 Bereavement counselling appointments, 1400 which were face to face. The Hospice relies on the generous donations of the community to raise the £2.5m needed each year.

To find out how you can support your local hospice, please call 01244 851811 or email info@hospicegs.com.