Titled ‘Getting it right every time’, the new resource was formally launched at the RCN Congress in Bournemouth this week.
According to the RCN website, a second resource, focussing on the key principles of end of life care, is due to go live in July.
The resource is intended as a broad overview of the general principles relating to nutrition and hydration in end of life care. It was developed using information from the 2014 RCN End of Life care survey, with staff indicating that they wanted more education and information around caring for people at the end of life.
The launch has been welcomed by members of the RCN. Lisa Makin, a nurse who works in a specialist palliative care unit, told the RCN website: “You can’t get enough education on communication in end of life care. These will be really useful resources and I’ll be sharing them with the head of education at my workplace.”
Student member Sue Harkness added: “There aren’t really any similar resources available at the moment so I will definitely be telling people about them where I work.”
The resource was launched on the same day that Marie Curie launched its new report, ‘Triggers for palliative care’, which called for more training so that healthcare professionals could recognise when a patient needed to access palliative care services.
Commenting on the Marie Curie report, Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said that it was “a timely reminder that expert palliative care does make a huge difference, but there needs to be recognition at the right time that a person is dying and arrangements must be put in place to ensure that care is available where and when it is needed.”
Dr Carter was confident that the new RCN resources would go some way to addressing the need for improvement and paid tribute to those who had put the resources together.
“These new guidance documents are the result of some determined work by the RCN’s members who are absolutely committed to improving care for the dying,” he said. “Nursing staff know that there is a huge amount that can be done, and these resources will help staff to deliver the best quality care, whether they treat dying patients every day or only infrequently.”