End of life care
We want to improve end of life care and we also want to ensure that people's individual wishes, and the wishes of their families, are respected.
What do we mean by end of life care?
End of life care is support for people who are in the last months of their life. Care should begin when you need it and may last a few days, or for months or years.
End of life care should help people to live as well as possible until they die, and make sure people die with dignity. Individuals have the right to express their wishes about where they would like to receive care and where they want to die.
People who are approaching the end of life are entitled to high-quality care, wherever they’re being cared for. End of life care can be given at home or in care homes, hospices or hospitals, depending on people's needs and wishes.
Support should be available to you, your family, carers or other people who are important to you.
Watch our video below to find out more, where you will hear from Dr Simon Williams, Clinical Director, Urgent Care and Integration and Clinical Lead in End of Life Care, Dr Aruni Wijeratne, Palliative Consultant at Princess Alice Hospice and Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, and carer Hugh Stott.
Thank you to the services who have contributed to our end of life care video, including Princess Alice Hospice who allowed us to film on site.
What is our vision?
Our vision is for everybody to work together to make the last stage of life as good as possible for each and every patient in Surrey Downs.
We want to commission high quality services that embed best practice and support patients and their carers, taking account of their physical, psychological, spiritual, cultural and social needs at the end of life, and also into bereavement.
We want to ensure that:
- People who are approaching the end of life receive high-quality care that meets national best practice
- The people providing care will ask about individual wishes and preferences, and take these into account as they work with patients and their families to plan their care.
- People will be empowered to express their wishes, and choose where they would like to receive care and where they want to die. And these wishes will be respected.
- This includes people having the right to receive end of life care at home or in care homes, hospices or hospitals, depending on their needs and preferences.
- Health professionals will support patients and their families, carers or other people who are important to them.
- Professionals involved in care will work together across organisational boundaries to make sure that the patient and their individual needs and wishes are at the centre of their care.
- We will embrace new technology so that care is well coordinated and seamless, with professionals having access to the information they need, when they need it.
To ensure that people have the opportunity to choose and discuss their preferences about how and where they would like to die.
To support families and carers, and make sure that they are also cared for at the end of life, and into bereavement.
We will work jointly with all other services to provide care which is fully integrated and personalised under the Care Act (2015).
Our plans to improve end of life care
We are focusing on six specific areas locally, these are:
1. Early identification
If people are entering the final months of their life it’s really important that we identify this early and start the honest and open conversations with individuals and their families so they can start thinking about their care and their wishes.
2. Staff training and education
Staff training and education is crucial. Staff need to be able to identify a patient who is at the end of their life and have the skills and experience to deliver the care and support that they need.
We are working with local partners on this to make sure the right training and support is in place so that staff can deliver the best end of life care.
3. Care that is co-ordinated
We are exploring new ways of working such as having end of life care professionals that work across more than one organisation. This is helping to deliver seamless care and really helps put the patient at the centre.
We’re also doing some work on access to information and making sure health professionals can see the information they need in an emergency.
4. Services that are accessible and meet local needs
Accessibility is really important and involves making sure that patients receive care around the clock, 24/7.
Every patient matters and we want to ensure that end of life care is equitable, inclusive and meets individual needs.
5. Embracing new technology to improve communication
New technology is being used to allow seamless coordinated care and improved communication.
Better use of IT systems promotes good partnership working across organisations which ensures that individual patient medical records are readily available to healthcare professionals delivering end of life care.
6. Bereavement support
Dying, death and bereavement affects everyone, so everyone must be able to get care that works for them personally, for their family and carers and for their communities.
We believe in caring for the patient’s family and loved ones at the end of life (pre-bereavement), and afterwards into bereavement.
This means that support will be offered and provided for those experiencing bereavement.
Have your say
If you would like to be involved in shaping the end of life care vision, or have any queries or comments about the service, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will pass your comments on to our end of life care team.