The End of Life Care Facilitator role is a catalyst for enabling, empowering and signposting health and social care professionals to deliver best practice. A strong vision is imperative to ensure that good care becomes a universal experience for all who are approaching death, coupled with a workforce who are equipped and educated to care for them.
An end of life strategy was developed at the hospital, ensuring that teams were actively engaged in change. This was pivotal to the hospital’s education strategy, which has been developed in line with the NICE key quality statement to improve staff education.
Some of our achievements so far include:
• Raising the profile of end of life care through awareness sessions, such as a ‘dying matters, dying to meet you’ event, which was held with our medical colleagues.
• Launching individual care plan for patients in the last days of life, complemented by the family voice project.
• Creating a credit card-sized guidance resource incorporating the five priorities of care.
• Creating an in-house sensitising compassionate care video entitled ‘one chance to get it right’, presented at mandatory training for all staff.
• Relaunching a palliative care link group, with specific objectives, to provide a forum for education and training and champion interested staff.
• Developing an intranet site to incorporate national and regional guidance and protocols.
• Writing a ward resource file and patient information leaflets, providing guidance on palliative care services and end of life care.
• Developing a competence assessment package for staff verification of expected death and a revised policy around this.
• Introducing advanced communication training and Sage and Thyme training.
This role has been challenging but rewarding and I feel fortunate to work with a fantastic team. Progress is ongoing and our recent Care Quality Commission report of Good with Outstanding care has inspired us to continue to strive to improve care for people affected by cancer in Gateshead.
1. Department of Health. End of Life Care Strategy: Promoting high quality care for all adults at the end of life. 2008.