End of Life Care

The main principles of high quality end of life care are:

  • Recognising when people are nearing the end of their life
  • Open and honest communication with the patient, the relatives and professionals
  • Helping people whenever possible to be cared for where they want to be
  • Co-ordinating  a seamless service during the patient’s journey
  • Ensuring all staff are able make sure patients are comfortable
  • Focusing care onto comfort at end of life
  • Provides support after someone has died for those who need help to cope
  • Treats the patient as an individual with choices about where they want to be cared for
  • Provides specialist symptom control advice such as pain control whenever needed

To help with this The Department of Health’s National End of Life Care Strategy (2008) has recommended that a framework be implemented to ensure delivery of appropriate care for people who are in the dying phase of their illness and after death.

Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust has chosen to use the locally developed Supportive Care Pathway (SCP) a
multidisciplinary document which is used in the hospital setting as well as the community in the Sandwell area. It provides the structure for delivering high standard end of life care to patients and their families. The SCP can be used for patients with any disease or condition, in their last months, weeks or days of life and encourages a palliative approach.

The SCP is not prescriptive and supports clinical decision making, prompting patient and family involvement in planning care as well as assessment and treatment of any distressing symptoms.

End of life Care is further supported by staff education and resources for staff as well as patients and their families such as the last days of life leaflet.

Further information:

Palliative EOL Care Strategy 2013

SCP Briefing in Reponse to Independent Enquiry