New end of life care framework provides personalised care to terminal patients

Non-profit organisation Skills for Health, Health Education England and support service for adult social care, Skills for Care, have announced a new new End of Life Care Core Skills Education and Training Framework, which aims to provide, high-quality care and support to patients with advanced incurable illness and their families.

Skills for Health and Skills for Care were commissioned by Health Education England to develop the framework to expand upon the existing Common Core Principles and Competences for individuals working in the sector. It was developed alongside healthcare organisations, hospices, campaign groups and academic institutions from around the UK.

The framework aims to enable organisations, service providers and clinical teams to benchmark their own standards, identify areas they need to improve and take steps to address them. It builds upon the Government’s National End of Life Care Strategy  and the Review of End of Life Care which have a person-centred approach; considering each patient’s individual needs, preferences and available support networks.

The new framework helps achieve this by promoting greater collaboration between organisations in the health and care sectors and in the community. The framework is underpinned by six guiding principles, including seeing each patient as an individual, maximising comfort and wellbeing and ensuring care is coordinated, all to help people ‘live as well as possible until they die.’

The framework is applicable to individuals working across the health and social care sectors, as well as their employers, community organisations and education and training providers. It details the key skill and knowledge needed to care for and support an individual approaching the end of their life, ranging from general end of life care awareness to in-depth knowledge.

John Rogers, Skills for Health said: “Health and social care staff have the opportunity to make a positive difference to the experience of people who are at the end of their life, their families and carers; not just through palliative treatment but also through emotional support. This can be a rewarding but also demanding experience, requiring a diverse mixture of technical skills, knowledge, compassion and resilience. It is vital that staff are equipped to meet these expectations. This new framework will consolidate, clarify and benchmark the key knowledge and competences staff at all levels need to provide patients and their families with the very best support and care at this vulnerable time.”

Sharon Allen, chief executive, Skills for Care, said: “High-quality end of life care that supports people’s needs, as well as their family and support networks, is something everyone has an absolute right to expect. This easy-to-use framework supports social care and health workers to understand the key issues around good end of life care to make sure they can provide quality care and support when the person they are working with needs it the most.”

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