Essex: Health groups launch new pathway for terminally ill patients

Do you really need to go to A&E?

Do you really need to go to A&E? - Credit: IAN BURT

A new approach to supporting dying people is being implemented across north east Essex this month.

The Individual Care Record For The Last Days Of Life has been adopted by a number of health organisations working in partnership.

It has been developed following the withdrawal of the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), which had been blamed for poor care in a Parliamentary review, and is designed to provide tailored support to terminally ill patients.

The groups involved began working together in February, and include:

• Anglian Community Enterprise (ACE), which runs community health services

• Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust (CHUFT), which runs Harwich, Clacton and Colchester hospitals

• North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (NEE CCG), which also commissions GP services

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• St Helena Hospice

The plan will also be rolled out at care homes in the area.

Beverley Pickett, end of life care facilitator at CHUFT, said: “There can be no excuse for not treating people with dignity, compassion and respect when they are dying, at the very time they need this most.

“The partners have come up with a locality-wide care record that is tailored to the individual so that all the organisations will use the same paperwork.

“It will maintain the good elements of the Liverpool Care Pathway but get away from its tick box system and make sure that the voices of dying people, and those of their families, are heard at all times.

“It is based on five ‘Priorities for Care’ created by a national coalition of organisations and will mean care is focused on dying people’s wishes, rather than processes.”

Priorities for care include guidance about food and drink, stating that patients should be supported to eat and drink for as long as they wish to do so, and also stresses the importance of clear and sensitive communication between staff, the person who is dying, and their family and friends.