Wirral end of life care charter: why I believe in it

Categories: Community Engagement.

The new Wirral end of life care charter launches on 20 May, during Dying Matters Week 2015.

Its 12 expectations seek to help everyone understand that help is available for them to have the best quality of life possible, for as long as possible, and their personal choices drive their care plan.

These are crucially important expectations. Everyone is going to die, and, as far as we can possible manage it, we should all be working towards easing that inevitable but often very difficult time, not for patients, but their families and carers too.

Hospices are for helping those at the end of life and all – not just here at Wirral Hospice St John’s – are dedicated to this. But there are many other professional organisations who are also at the forefront during this crucial time.

And of course that time might spread over weeks and months, even years; it is not just the final act we’re talking about here. So GPs, hospitals, social services, charities, funeral directors, solicitors (the list goes on!) all have an important role to play.

This charter is designed to help professionals achieve best practice. It is also designed to give reassurance to those needing end of life care.

We are hoping that everybody involved will read it and think: “Yes, this is how we can help people in the best way possible.”

We are trying to get as many people as possible to register their interest in the charter. And we are hoping that organisations will undertake to adhere to the standards laid down, and also commit to informing and training their staff to achieve those standards. In addition, we are asking them to tell their service users that these are the standards they can expect.

Wirral end of life care charter

You should expect:

  • To be supported with skilled, knowledgeable, health and care professionals who can recognise that you are approaching the end of life and work together to coordinate and manage your care.
  • With your agreement, that your plans, if you have made any, are shared with others involved in your care, so that your wishes may be fulfilled.
  • That, if you wish, those who are important to you are involved in decisions about your care and treatment.
  • A plan for care which includes food and drink, symptom control, psychological, social and spiritual support.
  • To have a regularly reviewed, plan for care individual to you and your needs, which includes decisions and actions in accordance with your needs and wishes.
  • The possibility that you may die within the next few days or hours will be recognised and communicated clearly and sensitively, to you and those who are important to you.
  • To be supported with trained staff, who will help you to think and plan ahead, if you want to, so as to be able to discuss your wishes and references for your care.
  • Be helped to remain as independent as possible and supported with health and care staff who maintain your dignity and sense of control throughout the course of your illness.
  • The needs of your family and others identified as important to you to be respected and met, as far as possible.
  • That you, and those important to you, will be treated with compassion and respect towards the end of life.
  • That your body will be treated with dignity and respect after your death.
  • That during your illness and after your death those important to you, receive practical, emotional and spiritual support.

End of life care:

  • Is the total care of a person with an advanced, progressive, incurable illness or frailty.
  • Is not just about dying.
  • May last a few days, or for months or years.
  • Begins when, and continues as long as, it is needed.

If you would like to know more about the Wirral end of life care charter, please contact me at julieg@wirralhospice.org

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