The end of life care hub hosts free, evidence-based reports and briefings, examples of good practice, useful links to other organisations such as NICE, and nine Social Care TV films.
One of these films focuses on how a care home supports its staff after the death of a resident. Amberleigh House in Liverpool puts a priority on helping staff to work through their feelings of loss when a resident they have been caring for dies.
Another film looks at the importance of coordination. It features a scheme funded by South of Tyne and Wear Palliative Care Coordinating Centre from Marie Curie’s Newcastle Hospice.
The most recent addition to the library of films is ‘Thinking about the words we use’, an animated video with ‘vox pop’ interviews from people about what they think and feel about the terms, ‘end of life’ and ‘palliative care’.
All these resources are useful triggers for discussion and learning for those working in healthcare but they also consider aspects of social care delivery which have not always been appreciated as important.
Increasingly, social care staff need enhanced skills and understanding in order to support people at the end of life who also have dementia.This is challenging work.
If an early diagnosis of the disease is made and the person has expressed their preferences and wishes for end of life care, it is social care staff who will be providing the daily person-centred care required, supported by the health team and others.
This will be the case whether the person is living in their own home, in sheltered accommodation or in a care home.
However, if there has not been the opportunity for these discussions it will be the social care staff who, knowing the person most intimately, will have the best assessment of what they might choose or prefer. They will know their life history, their likes and dislikes, what will bring comfort and so on.
Involving service users
SCIE’s work is co-produced. This means that its resources are developed based on the experiences of services users and their carers.
The ‘Dying well at home’ guide is a good example. Carers and people at the end of life came together to discuss what mattered most to them about end of life care services.
Coordinated 24-hour seven day a week care, a single point of contact for information, advice and equipment, access to GP and specialist services, the involvement of carers and good communication were the key messages.
It is fair to say that, until recently, the focus on improving end of life care services has been on medical provision.
There is no question that specialist and palliative care services are essential but this must be accompanied by dignified and sensitive care which gives people choice and control.
This combination of skills, attitude and approach can only be provided by confident, well supported care staff who understand what people at the end of life and their carers expect. SCIE produces resources to aid that learning and development.