National guidance for end of life care

The four UK countries have their own guidance documents on end of life care. In England the guidance is referred to as the ‘5 priorities of care’ and these themes are reflected in the policy guidance within the other three countries.

5 priorities of care:

Recognise
The possibility that a person may die within the next few days or hours must be recognised and communicated clearly.

Communicate
Sensitive communication should take place between staff and the dying person, and those identified as important to them.

Involve
The dying person, and those identified as important to them, should be involved in decisions about treatment and care to the extent that the dying person wants.

Support
The needs of families must be actively explored, respected and met as far as possible.

Plan & Do
An individual plan of care, which includes food and fluid, symptom control and psychological, social and spiritual support, must be agreed, co-ordinated and delivered with compassion.

In the final days it may be difficult for patients to make decisions, therefore discussions regarding nutrition and hydration are ideally carried out well in advance.

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