End-of-life care plans 'vital'
Published on 01 August 2013 11:30 AM
End-of-life care plans are a crucial factor in ensuring individuals experience a compassionate death, a new report has concluded.
The charity Compassion in Dying also said its report highlights the need for workable guidance to be put in place as soon as possible.
It was revealed in the study that 45% of people say their friend or relative died in a bad way due to an illness.
However, more than half (58%) of people whose loved ones died with an end-of-life care plan in place said they passed away in a good way.
For those who died in a bad way, various factors were cited as ways in which things could have been improved, such as:
- better communication between the doctor and their loved one (39%),
- co-ordination of care (33%),
- being able to die in a place of their choice (31%),
- as well as recording end-of-life wishes (19%).
Why making your wishes known in advance matters
More than 2,400 adults took part in the survey and were asked to recount the experience of their last close friend or relative who passed away for the report, which is entitled Divided in Dying.
The report also focused on one particular case, involving a 77-year-old man called Terry Collins from Romsey in Hampshire, whose mother Florence died in hospital in 2002 aged 92.
Mrs Collins was not coherent when admitted to hospital having developed signs of dementia and failing circulation.
Medical staff only had the judgment of Mrs Collins' children to go on, Mr Collins reported, as she did not have an Advance Decision or Lasting Power of Attorney.
He said this is when it struck home with him the importance of making your wishes known.
'Everything she would have hated'
The situation was 'everything she would have hated', Mr Collins said.
'It was clear she was coming to the end of her life but because she hadn't recorded her preferences to refuse life-sustaining treatment, the final decision lay with the medical team,' he added.
It was 'through pure good fortune', Mr Collins believes, that medical staff understood the family's concerns and stopped any invasive treatment, enabling her to die peacefully.
Copyright Press Association 2013