Lancashire hospice inspired by patient to host conference on personalised end of life care plans

Categories: Education.

Max, who died earlier this year from bowel cancer, developed a one-page end of life care plan that clearly stated his wishes for his final months, days and hours for doctors, nurses and his family to follow. He wanted his plan to be personal and to avoid some of the more clinically-led documents.

To create his plan, Max worked with Helen Sanderson Associates who have pioneered similar so-called ‘one-page profiles’ for social care, education and healthcare organisations.

One person who worked with Max as he developed his one-page profile is Dr Claire Capewell, consultant in palliative medicine at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who also works at St Catherine’s Hospice.

Dr Capewell explains: “When Max shared his concept with me, I thought it was fantastic. It’s not easy to have discussions about end of life plans, but we know that having them increases the likelihood of the wishes being known and respected.

“I have felt inspired by Max’s plan to look at my current practices to see how his ideas can be developed to benefit others.”

St Catherine’s is continuing Max’s legacy by hosting a conference in October on advance care planning and bringing together those who were involved in developing the one-page profile to teach others about the process.

Lynn Kelly, director of knowledge exchange services at St Catherine’s, explains: “Advance care planning is well embedded within hospice care, but we learnt such a lot from Max who felt that some of the tools often used by health professionals weren’t as person-centred as they could be.

“Max had worked in a learning disabilities environment and used principles from there to develop his ‘one page profile’, so we’ve invited an expert from that sector to speak at the conference and look at how we can use their person-centred approach in our own advance care planning practice.

“Conversations about death and dying can be difficult, upsetting and scary, but it is an important part of planning for end of life care, and it provides reassurance to everyone involved that the steps being taken are in line with what a person has requested.”

A social media handle has been created – #MaxEOLC – representing Max’s contribution to end of life care. The hashtag allows people from across the country to join in conversations online about advance care planning and helps raise awareness about the important issues.

The conference, being held on 21 October at the hospice in Lostock Hall, Lancashire, will feature a number of national guest speakers from healthcare professionals and solicitors, to hospice patients and family members.

Find out more about the conference on the St Catherine’s Hospice website.

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