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NICE launches consultation on end of life care

Draft quality standard focuses on respect and dignity

Jo Carlowe

Friday, 24 June 2011

NICE has today launched a consultation on its draft quality standard for end of life care for adults.

Around 500,000 people die in England each year and for most people at the end of their life, being treated with dignity and respect, dying without pain and perhaps in familiar surroundings in the company of close family and/or friends is very important.

The draft quality standard contains 20 statements for the care of adults (18 years and older) with advanced, progressive, or life-limiting conditions who are approaching the end of their life, and for adults who die suddenly or after a very brief illness, in settings where care is provided by health and social care staff.

The guidance also covers support for the families and carers of people in these groups. The statements include ensuring people in such settings are offered comprehensive and regular assessments, which include the opportunity to discuss their current physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs and preferences.

It also states that people approaching the end of life, and their families and carers, are communicated with in a timely, sensitive and honest way that is responsive to their needs and preferences.

In addition, the draft standard states that people closely affected by a death have access to emotional and bereavement support appropriate to their needs and preferences, and that health and social care workers in all settings receive the appropriate education to develop competence in the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to care for people approaching the end of life in a safe and effective way.

Dr Fergus Macbeth, Director of the Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE said: “It is very important that at the end of a person's life, they are treated with compassion, consideration and respect. This standard will be a useful tool in helping all those involved in caring for people who are approaching the end of life deliver the very best care at this time. I would now encourage registered stakeholders to submit their comments on this draft standard via the NICE website.”

The draft standard is available for consultation on the NICE website from today until 5.00pm on Friday 22 July.

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