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Hospitals providing high standards of care to the dying; more palliative care training still needed

Hospitals providing high standards of care to the dying; more palliative care training still neededThe results of an audit, carried out by researchers at the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute Liverpool in tandem with the Royal College of Physicians, has revealed that hospitals, in the majority of areas, are providing high standards of palliative care to dying patients.

The audit chiefly examined the statistics on over 7,000 patients at 127 NHS trusts that were provided assistance by the Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient (LCP). In addition, the researchers also analyzed the data which 131 trusts in England gave them on patients in the last hours or days of life.

The audit revealed that 94 percent of people on their death beds said that they were "comfortable" about symptom control objectives; while 91 percent confirmed that they had written prescriptions for the five main symptoms - agitation, respiratory tract secretions, pain, vomiting and nausea, and breathing difficulties - which mostly develop in the last hours or days of life.

However, what is still a matter of concern is the fact that there is need for improvement in education, training and support that healthcare professionals receive while offering care for the dying, and in the patients’ accessibility to specialist palliative care teams.

Noting that high quality’ end of life’ care should be made available to everyone, Teresa Tate - Marie Curie Cancer Care’s medical adviser – said: “This audit shows that training for healthcare staff, and palliative care teams in our hospitals working seven days a week, are essential in achieving this and we must continue to work to make that possible.”