Three wards at a Dudley hospital have achieved the Gold Standards Framework (GSF), the highest national standard for end of life care.
The wards at Russells Hall Hospital, which look after elderly patients and those who’ve had a stroke or have coronary disease, received the accreditation after two years of hard work from staff. The coronary care unit is the first in the country to achieve GSF accreditation.
Working in association with Hospice UK, the GSF aims to enable a ‘gold standard’ of care to help people live well before they die, and to die well in the place and the manner of their choosing.
Dr Jo Bowen, palliative medicine consultant, explained the significance of the accreditation for the hospital: “This is a fantastic achievement for the wards and staff and one that has demonstrated improvements regarding end of life care for patients.
“The main achievements are earlier recognition of patients in the last year of life which has then impacted on the development of an individual plan of care, reduced length of stay and improved communication from the Trust to community teams.
“The engagement and ownership demonstrated by the ward teams is outstanding and the initiatives taken by the ward to ensure an individual plan of care is achieved. Pre-Covid this has included weddings, visits from pets, birthday celebrations and this is now part of the culture in the Trust to support end of life care.
Cardiology consultant Dr Robert Huggett added: “The increasing number of advanced heart failure patients and unpredictable nature of the disease has historically made palliative care difficult in cardiology. The GSF accreditation process has shown that cardiology can be trained effectively in end of life care.
“To do this we used targeted GSF training interventions at all levels, as well as having GSF champions on the wards. We have learnt to be proactive in identifying GSF patients and have more conversation with our patients about their future needs so that we can make better decisions.”
Staff across the different teams worked together towards gaining accreditation. Matron Rachael Collins explained: “We are really proud of the teamwork shown on the wards in achieving the GSF accreditation. Everyone on the ward was involved and all members of our multidisciplinary team participated and supported each other.
“It was a lot of hard work changing minds and challenging attitudes and beliefs but we all knew that what we were striving for would be worth it. As a team we passionately advocate for good end of life and palliative care, and we are very aware we only get one chance to get it right.”
For more information visit Gold Standards Framework