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Are we getting it right? A review of end-of-life care in community nursing

02 July 2021
Volume 26 · Issue 7


End-of-life (EoL) care is an important role in community nursing. In order to assess a community nursing team's performance in the delivery of EoL care, an evaluation of the EoL care template was undertaken from electronic patient records. Records were assessed against a set of four care priorities across 23 nursing teams in a large acute/community trust. Some 103 electronic patient records were evaluated out of a convenience sample of 110 (94% response rate). The results demonstrated that patients' wishes are being discussed and documented and the priorities of care are being considered with patients needing EoL care. Thus, patients and their families are being supported by the community nursing service, which is communicating with them sensitively and involving patients in the decision-making process. In some cases, the EoL Care Template was not fully completed, which would result in poorer communication across teams and organisations of practice within the wider community. Future action will be focused on continuing to encourage and improve the use of the EoL care template as well as the local online e-learning package for EoL care.

Approximately 500 000 people die in England each year, and around 40% of these deaths occur in a person's own home or a care home (Public Health England (PHE), 2019). The NHS Long Term Plan (2019) promised to introduce proactive and personalised care planning for everyone identified as being in their last year of life. End of life is defined as the likelihood of the person dying within the next 12 months and also includes those people whose death is expected imminently within days or hours (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), 2019). In 2014, a new approach to caring for dying people was developed and published by the Leadership Alliance for the Care of Dying People. One chance to get it right (Leadership Alliance for the Care of Dying People, 2014) presented the five priorities of care for the dying person, an approach which reflects individualised needs and preferences while avoiding the standardised care associated with previous pathways. The five priorities are:

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