A new guide which tackles the difficult subject of care and treatment towards the end of a patient’s life is being launched during Dying Matters Awareness Week (13-19 May) across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
Deciding Right – Planning your care in advance aims to help patients think about what care they may want to receive in the future should they become seriously ill, disabled or unable to make decisions for themselves.
The guide gives advice on how patients can discuss these issues with those who care for them – doctors, nurses, care home manager, social worker, family or friends – and how to record their decisions in a care plan.
“Caring for someone at the end of their life is a sensitive and often difficult subject to discuss,” said Professor Mayur Lakhani, the co-chair for the Deciding Right programme.
“Not everyone will choose to talk about this, but for those who want to plan their care in advance, the Deciding Right guide will help them to think about their future treatment and make their wishes known.
“Planning care in advance puts patients in control of deciding where they want to spend their final weeks and days, helping them to look at what options are available, what pain relief they may want and how to make their wishes known if they want to refuse a specific treatment. The earlier this is discussed, the greater the chance people’s choices are met with a death free of pain in a preferred place of care and the care plan can be amended at any time putting patients firmly in control.
“We encourage anyone with a terminal illness, or who is worried about a loved one with life-limiting conditions, such as end-stage heart or lung disease, or dementia or incurable cancer, to talk to their GP, consultant or community nurse about Deciding Right.”
The Deciding Right guide has been created by the three local clinical commissioning groups (West Leicestershire, East Leicestershire and Rutland, and Leicester City) together with partners in local hospitals, LOROS and community health services. GPs and other Leicestershire health professionals are being trained and encouraged to share best practice on supporting patients at the end of their lives.
For more information on Deciding Right – Planning your care in advance, visit http://www.westleicestershireccg.nhs.uk/your-health/deciding-right-. Copies of the guide are being distributed local GP practices and community hospitals and should be available this week.