Hospitals fulfilling patients’ end of life care wishes win national award
Wards in seven acute and community hospitals received awards recognising the excellent, proactive, person-centred, coordinated care they provide their patients approaching the end of life.
Members of the nursing teams from the front running hospitals were presented with the Gold Standards Framework Quality Hallmark Award by Dr Premila Fade, End of Life Care Lead at the British Geriatrics Society, which co-badges the award, at a special ceremony in London.
Dr Fade said: “All clinicians caring for patients in hospitals need to be able to recognise when end of life is approaching and help patients and their families plan appropriately for their future care. Hospital wards achieving GSF accreditation are inspirational, proving that they recognise this important responsibility and are committed to providing quality, coordinated care to their patients who are approaching the end of life. I am delighted to be able to present them with this important award."
Having completed the GSF Community Hospitals Training Programme, all the successful wards, at Alderney, Blandford, Westhaven and Victoria Community Hospitals (all in Dorset) and Danetre Community Hospital in Daventry, were assessed by a panel of independent experts. The wards demonstrated that they proactively assess and meet their patients’ needs at this most vulnerable time, helping them communicate their wishes and coordinate their care. The hospitals have demonstrated the ability to better plan patients’ care with GPs and District Nurses as well as fulfil their wishes in terms of how and where they are cared for.
Two community hospitals are being re-accredited after three years of sustaining and building on this work. Patsy Hatfield a Ward Sister at Danetre Community Hospital in Daventry, which, along with Blandford Community hospitals is the first to be accredited for the second time, said that the GSF training had imbued the nursing team with a new-found confidence to initiate conversations with patients and families about the care they want as they approached the end of life.
She added: “The biggest difference between then and now is that we are so much better at talking to the patients and their families and helping them to plan their care. This makes life so much simpler and easier for everyone.
“Many of our patients when they are first admitted say that they would like to die at home. But when they actually come here and feel safe and well cared for they change their mind, and many opt to die here instead.”
Implementation of the GSF training has empowered staff at Alderney Hospital in Poole, Dorset to enable patients to achieve their preferred place of care too.
Chris Clarke, Manager of Herm Ward at Alderney Hospital, said: “The move can be distressing for patients with advanced dementia and their families. Since we started the GSF programme, no one has been transferred to the General Hospital and died there. In fact, we are now able to offer patients and their families a range of options in line with their wishes; whether to stay here, maybe go to a care home or even go home to die.
Three wards at Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation are the first from an acute hospital to be reaccredited by the GSF Centre, proving the sustainability of their end of life care. Three wards at Southend University Hospital Trust received the award for the first time.
Wendy Warner, Palliative Care Lead Nurse at Southend UHT, said: “It has been fabulous to support the wards and teams and see them flourish as part of the GSF programme. It has helped us to embed advance care planning for those patients who are approaching the end of their life in order to meet their wishes and where appropriate to avoid hospital admissions. It has also helped us to focus as a whole team and improve further our care for patients in their last days of life and their families.”
The GSF Centre is the UK’s largest provider of training for health and social care staff, enabling them to help people live well as they approach the last phase of their lives. The 12 GSF Quality Improvement training programmes have been developed to enhance care within the community, hospitals and all settings in planning and implementing care for those patients thought to be in the last stage of life.
GSF National Clinical Director Professor Keri Thomas said: “These hospitals are making a huge difference to the lives of patients and their families. They are doing this by achieving early identification rates, of over 30% in acute hospitals and two thirds in community hospitals, which leads to more anticipatory care in line with people’s wishes and more able to live and die well where they choose.
“Through dedicated, planned and coordinated care, these wards are frontrunners and exemplars to others in what can be achieved in hospital care, supporting their population of people in the last phase of their lives.”
Public Relations, Gold Standard Framework Centre