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20
Sep

The NHS Must Improve End of Life Care


While a few health service organisations were trying to improve the environments for the dying and their families and friends, more needed to be done, says Sarah Waller, programme director of the King’s Fund.

 

There is still a reluctance to discuss these important aspects of care, said The King's Fund's report, Environments for Care at the End of Life. There is also an absence in taking them fully into consideration when planning services, says Waller writing in the Guardian newspaper. It was not uncommon, she said, for there to be no appropriate spaces in a hospital for relatives who may be spending many hours with relatives who are dying. They have to sit in the canteen or in a corridor, and some even have to resort to sleeping in their cars, putting an additional strain on the whole family. When a death occurs, how right is it that relatives still have to revisit wards to where their loved one died, to collect property and certificates? Their privacy and dignity needs to be respected too.


This went beyond the necessity of cleanliness, control of infection and the preservation of individuals' privacy and dignity, to creating spaces that are fit for purpose, welcoming and comfortable.


The Fund's Enhancing the Healing Environment programme had demonstrated that suitable settings could be created, said Waller who is calling for estates staff to work in partnership with patients and relatives to design the type of supportive and flexible spaces that are a feature of hospices, but up until now not hospitals.

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