Nurse Sarah leads end-of-life care
A NEW approach to improve the way people are cared for in the last year of their lives is being developed at Kettering General Hospital (KGH).
The aim is to help individuals – and families – to make informed choices about how they, or a loved one, are cared for and supported, in hospital or at home, over that period.
The new approach involves adopting a new end-of-life strategy at KGH, working with Macmillan Cancer Support to put in place new guidance for best practice care for the dying patient, and training staff to champion good end-of-life processes.
This will ensure that dying patients receive an individualised care plan.
To help co-ordinate this work, Sarah Parry – who has 12 years’ experience as a Macmillan palliative care nurse specialist, has been appointed to the role of Macmillan Transformation lead nurse for End-of-Life Care at the hospital.
She said: “I’m passionate about developing excellent end-of-life care and will be working closely with staff from across the trust to achieve this.
“End-of-life is care about identifying people who are in that final stage and then very carefully and sensitively establishing what they – and their relatives – feel they need by way of support and preparation.
“It can be about the best ways of controlling complex symptoms, having that difficult conversation about where someone wants to die, and about ensuring that care is planned alongside support in the community.
“Some people may not want to know when they are going to die, but in our experience most individuals and families want to plan and prepare.
“The outcome we are looking for will be well-trained hospital staff working closely with patients and their families around this sensitive subject in such a way that the end-of-life care experience is the best that it can be.”
Kay Atkinson – from the Macmillan and KGH partnership – is Macmillan’s development manager for Northamptonshire. She said: “Macmillan is actively supporting Kettering General Hospital in transforming end-of-life care by funding this new post for two years. We will be working closely with the trust by being an active member of the End-of-Life Forum and working alongside KGH, internal and external key stakeholders across Northamptonshire to achieve new ways of working.”
Currently in Northamptonshire, around 51% of people die in hospital.
Each year at the Kettering hospital there are around 1,100 deaths, with 25 per cent of these attributed to cancer. The majority of deaths occur following a period of chronic illness such as respiratory disease or heart disease.
Pictured above – PALLIATIVE CARE: End-of-life Macmillan Transformation lead nurse, Sarah Parry.