Hospice UK responds to RCN survey on care for dying people

Nov 03, 2014

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) today (Nov 3) publishes a survey highlighting that its members are concerned about the ability of health services to deliver high quality care for dying people in line with their expressed preferences.

Commenting on the RCN survey findings, Dr Ros Taylor, National Director for Hospice Care at Hospice UK, said:

"We are really saddened by the shocking results of this survey. What it shows is that nurses desperately want to provide sensitive and gentle care for dying people, but huge numbers feel they don't have the time, support and training to do so. We completely agree with Dr Peter Carter that care of the dying is an art and that nurses are at the heart of this care. We know what good care looks like but it’s not easy.

“Hospice teams have longstanding and huge expertise in care of people in their last days, in hospice beds and at home. They are used to discovering what matters most to patients as they face loss. Hospices are also expert trainers in care of the dying and it was really shocking to see that 25% of nurses reported no training at all in care of the dying, yet many were caring for dying patients every day.

“Encouragingly, many hospices are establishing  strong partnerships with their local hospitals to share their knowledge through programmes such as Quality End of Life Care for All (QELCA) which has led to significant improvements in the confidence of hospital nurses caring for dying people.

“Hospices are also working very collaboratively with their local community nursing teams to share the care of thousands of people who are dying at home, and are very aware of the stretched resources and stresses that their community colleagues face.

“At Hospice UK we would like to work closely with the Royal College of Nursing to explore and encourage how there could be much wider shared learning and support between hospices, hospitals and community teams.

“We join the RCN in an urgent plea for more NHS investment in training and staffing to improve the experience of half a million people who spend their last days in hospital, to support the discharge of those who would prefer to be at home and to ensure more robust and confident round the clock care in the community.”  

“As a hospice doctor, I have also seen patients taken to hospital against their wishes because there simply weren’t the resources to care for them at home. This is a terrible experience for the patient and their family. Hospital has become the default option for dying people and Hospice UK has recently proposed a new programme to address this, so that more dying people can be cared for in the place of their choice, which is often their own home or local hospice.”

About Hospice UK

Hospice UK is the national charity for hospice care and the only membership body for organisations providing hospice care. We support and champion the work of more than 200 of these organisations across the UK.

Hospices, and other organisations which provide hospice care, offer vital care for people with terminal or life-limiting conditions and also support their families and carers.

Follow us on Twitter @hospiceukPA.

Media enquiries

Please contact Suzanne Stevenson on 0207 520 8296 or by email at s.stevenson@hospiceuk.org For out of hours media enquiries please call 07881 940318.

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