End of Life Preferences

  • With alot of attention on Liverpool care pathway (LCP), how people's end-of-life wishes are taken into account has become a growing concern.

    "Successive surveys have found that around two thirds of people say that home would be the place they would want to die - but research recently carried out by Demos for the charity Sue Ryder reveals that although 78% of people surveyed said that dying without pain was important to them, only 27% felt that home was a place where they would be free from pain during their final days."

    Baby Hands

    Since 2008, the LCP is one element of a vast end-of-life care system that has been operational to help people achieve their preferred place of death.

    However, this has led to an underdeveloped system and ensuring people can die at home is currently being used as a quick and easy alternative for a good death.

    Although, decisions about end-of-life care are often made under difficult circumstances and it can be challenging for professionals to discuss the complexities of medication and families' wishes.

    Nevertheless, the development of the end-of-life care system has been weakened and leaves other settings neglected instead of developing them as good places for people to die.

    Despite knowing this, people still wish to die at home because it satisfies more of their preferences like being surrounded by loved ones.

    According to the Guardian, in order to align the end-of-life care system with the rest of health and social care, we must shift the emphasis from where to how and think about what outcomes people value, regardless of where they end up.

    This places a lot more responsibility on health and care staff to communicate honestly and sensitively with patients and their families about the kind of death they would like to achieve, and inform them of their options.

    Doctors, nurses and other health and care staff should be supported to ask the right kinds of questions in this circumstance.

    The advance care plans would be a great implement to ensure that place is not viewed as the most important or only choice that a person needs to make about their death.

    We should look forward to a system where a person can decide how they want to die by putting the correct options for achieving it into consideration. 

    Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1391967

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