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End-of-life care to be overhauled

GeriatricThe way the care pathway has been implemented has come under intense scrutiny

There needs to be an overhaul in the way dying patients are cared for in England, ministers have conceded.

The government has ordered hospitals to carry out immediate reviews of their practices and announced the Liverpool Care Pathway will be phased out.

It comes after an independent report concluded the pathway, which can involve the withdrawal of food and treatment, was being “misused”.

It will be replaced by individual end of life care plans within a year.

These plans will be tailored to take into account different conditions.

One of the major criticisms of the independent review – chaired by crossbench peer Baroness Julia Neuberger – was that the LCP had become a “tick box” exercise, which did not take the individual patients’ circumstances into account.

The Care Quality Commission, which regulates hospitals, has also been told to ensure end of life care becomes a more important component of the inspection regime.

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said: “We hope the actions we have taken today will reassure patients and their families that everyone coming to the end of their life is getting the best possible care and that concerns are being dealt with swiftly.

“I have personally heard families describe staff slavishly following a process without care or compassion and leaving people suffering at the end of their lives. This is something we cannot allow to go on.

“People’s final days should be as comfortable and dignified as possible. That is why there is a place for thoughtful and careful end of life care that involves patients and their families, but it is clear what we have now needs to be replaced so we can create a better way of doing this.”

BBC News – Health


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