Dying matters

Our Trust is committed to achieving the best possible outcomes for our patients and over the last few months I’ve been sharing some of our great results in this blog – often the way we compare these is to look at the number of patients who recover, for example from severe trauma. Alongside this, and equally as important, is the care and support we give to those at the end of their lives, to quote Dr Kevin Stewart from the Royal College of Physicians: "how we care for dying patients is an indicator of the patient quality experience across our organisations."

As a Trust we take part in the national audit on care of the dying – the results for last year were recently published.

We are proud that we were amongst the best for our procedures on promoting privacy, dignity and respect; as well as amongst the best for prescribing key medicines that help deal with the symptoms in the last hours or days of life. But we know we need to do better on providing education and training for our staff, we also know we would like to have our specialist team available for more of the week.

Our clinical lead for End of Life Care, Dr Carol Davis, says: “Whether or not we like it, a certainty is that we will all die. Some of us will die of long-term conditions or old age, others more unexpectedly. We only have one chance to get it right for people and their families. It is easier to get it right if people talk about what their wishes might be, about where they would want to be and about issues such as organ and tissue donation.

“Talking about death doesn't bring death closer; it's about planning for life. We are working hard to improve all aspects of patient experience including end of life care.”

For information about these issues you can go to www.dyingmatters.org