Policy Welsh inquiry examines end of life care during the pandemic - ehospice

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Welsh inquiry examines end of life care during the pandemic

Categories: Policy.

A new report by a cross-party group of MSs has looked at experiences of palliative and end-of-life care in the community during the pandemic, revealing the difficulties experienced by dying people in Wales getting the support they needed in their own homes.

The inquiry shows we must prioritise palliative care, to help us plan for future pandemics and meet the growing demand for end of life care in our communities.

Mark Isherwood MS, Chair of the Cross Party Group on Hospices and Palliative Care

Hospice and palliative care played a critical role in the pandemic, responding to a massive increase in demand for end-of-life care in the community, with deaths at home increasing by over 30% and continuing at close to this level today.

The Cross Party Group (CPG) on Hospice and Palliative Care found that the surge in need revealed weaknesses in pre-pandemic planning and capacity.

Many people faced difficulties receiving suitable end-of-life care at home and in care homes, increasing existing inequalities and leading to some devastating experiences, including complex bereavement.

Despite these pressures, the report also found that health and social care workers went above and beyond to support patients and their families, enabling greater collaboration, innovation and creative working across primary, secondary and social care, from which important lessons can be learnt.

“The Covid-19 pandemic turned the world of palliative care on its head,” said Mark Isherwood, MS Chair of the Cross Party Group on Hospices and Palliative Care. “We must learn from this and build on the collaboration and good practice seen during the pandemic, as well as acknowledging the gaps and weaknesses it revealed.

“The inquiry shows we must prioritise palliative care, to help us plan for future pandemics and meet the growing demand for end of life care in our communities.”

The MSs make a number of recommendations to ensure that that end of life care provision is fit for the future, including for future pandemics:

  • The End of Life Care Funding Review should prioritise palliative care capacity in the community, scaling up existing good practice and tackling inequalities. This should include a detailed implementation plan to support Welsh Governments recently published vision for the future of palliative and end of life care in Wales.
  • The UK Covid-19 Inquiry and Welsh Government should ensure that the findings and recommendations of the National Inquiry are informed by the experiences of people and service providers in Wales.
  • Advance and future care preferences around end of life should be included with electronic patient records.
  • The wellbeing, education and training of staff working in palliative care should be prioritised.
  • Public awareness and understanding of end of life care should be supported, including by working with hospices as learning sites.

“Demand for palliative care in the community is forecast to double by 2040,” added Matthew Brindley, Policy and Advocacy Manager for Wales at Hospice UK, Secretariat to the Inquiry. “The pandemic has given us a glimpse into how our health and social care system will cope under similar pressures in the not so distant future.

“The report by the CPG gives a pathway for how to meet this need. The hospice sector is ready to meet the challenge, but it needs greater support from government to do so.”

Download the report

You can view the report from the Cross Party Group as a .pdf document, available to download onto your PC.

Lawrlwythwch

Gallwch weld yr adroddiad gan y Grŵp Trawsbleidiol fel dogfen .pdf, sydd ar gael i’w lawrlwytho ar eich cyfrifiadur.

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