The National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) and Public Health England (PHE) announced the project yesterday, alongside the launch of the new ‘Dying Well Community Charter’.
The Charter is intended to help communities work together to improve their response to people who are dying, and those who are bereaved. It is a commitment by individuals, communities and organisations to work together towards key principles, to apply to all of us and our communities as we are affected by dying and death.
The new Charter is an update of ‘What makes a good death? A North East Charter’, produced by the NHS North East Strategic Health Authority in 2010. It incorporates the five Priorities for Care that came from the Leadership Alliance for the Care of Dying People recommendations, as well as the Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of General Practitioners’ 2011 End of Life Care Patient Charter.
In addition to the Charter, a ‘Public Health Approaches End of Life Care Toolkit’, produced by Professor Allan Kellehear and Dr Aliki Karapliagkou at Middlesex University, has also been published.
Become a Pathfinder Charter Community
Six chosen pathfinders will receive support to launch and implement the new Charter locally, and help their local community to work together to improve their response to people who are dying and those who have been bereaved.
Organisations or collaborations of organisations – including local authorities, clinical commissioning groups, health and wellbeing boards and NHS or voluntary sector providers – can apply to be Pathfinders.
Applicants will be required to provide evidence or confirmation of working in collaboration with a broad range of other organisations across sectors in their locality, and have the resources to hold an event to launch the Charter locally, with advice and non-financial support from the NCPC and PHE.
‘Focus on compassionate care and support’
Claire Henry, Chief Executive of the National Council for Palliative Care, commented: “Despite being one of life’s few certainties, the needs of many people who are dying or who have been bereaved continue to be overlooked. That’s why we need a public health approach to end of life care, with a much greater focus on compassionate care and support. Together, the Charter and Toolkit have the potential to improve end of life care for everyone through the commitment of pathfinder Charter communities.”
Professor Julia Verne, Clinical Lead for the National End of Life Care Intelligence Network at Public Health England, added: “It is a societal responsibility to ensure that people who are dying are cared for with dignity and that their family and loved ones are supported through their caring roles and during bereavement.
“One of the greatest sadness of our modern society is that many older adults spend their last days and hours alone with no close family or friends to care for them or give human comfort. They are totally dependent on the input of professional carers.
“The Dying Well Charter is a rallying call to society to improve the care of the dying and the ‘Public Health Approaches End of Life Care Toolkit’ will support Pathfinder Communities in mobilising local action.”