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Support for people at the end of their life in Canterbury and coastal area

User AvatarPosted by Bobbie Walkem-Smith at 13/05/2013 12:25:42

Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect as they approach the end of their life, and to be cared for in a manner and place of their choosing.

Most people want to have a say over the healthcare they receive in their last weeks and days. However, it is not always easy to discuss their thoughts and wishes with those around them. Just thinking about it can make those close to them very upset.

But in Canterbury, Herne Bay, Whitstable, Faversham, Sandwich, Ash and surrounding areas, steps are being taken to help people let healthcare professionals and loved ones know what they want.

The My Wishes register lets healthcare staff who are responsible for patient care find out the out what patients want at the end of their life.  The staff then do their very best to ensure that these wishes are respected where possible.

Dr Roxy Didehvar, Clinical Lead for End of Life for NHS Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “A lack of conversation is perhaps the most important reason why people's wishes go ignored or unfulfilled; if we do not know how to communicate what we want, and those around us do not know how to listen, it is almost impossible to express a clear choice.

“The thing people fear most about dying is the associated loss of control. By empowering patients to express their wishes, that control can be restored.”

The My Wishes register is a record of decisions about the type of care people would like to receive as they approach the end of their life, including any cultural or religious wishes

It may include information about any legal refusal of treatment decisions they may have made and preferences on where they would like to die, whether at home, in a care home, in hospital or in a hospice.

Dr Didehvar said: “My Wishes is invaluable to support people who are at the end of their life. It will improve end of life care experience for patients and their families and previous work has shown that it helps patients to achieve their wishes in where they wish to die.”

The information on the register is held securely online and can be accessed only by staff responsible for the persons care, such as  GP, the ambulance service, community nurses, social care and hospice services. They can access it at any hour of the day or night, so people can be confident that everyone looking after them knows what care they want.

Patients can change their wishes at any time by talking to their GP, hospice staff or any other health professional looking after them, who will update it for them. Patients who are on the My Wishes register can also call the Care Navigation Centre which is available 24 hours a day seven days a week on 01233 504133 for any urgent help of advice.

More than 350 people in east Kent have already outlined their wishes on the register since its launch in August 2012.

The service is being promoted across the area as part of Dying Matters Week which runs from 13-19 May. Displays will be manned at Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury in the outpatients department on 14 May, in Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate on 16 May, and in William Harvey Hospital, Ashford on 17 May.

For more information see http://www.eastkentendoflifecare.org/

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