Today (Monday, 12 October) is World Palliative Care Day and we’re celebrating the achievement of Livewell Southwest’s End of Life Care lead, Sharon King, who has helped develop innovative guidance to empower carers and relatives to help look after their loved ones.
Sharon has been instrumental in the production of a new policy which means carers and relatives are able to work alongside professionals to support and deliver treatment, like changing dressings, and administering some medication for a person receiving palliative treatment at home.
A fundamental part of excellent end of life care is ensuring that people are kept as comfortable as possible, in their preferred location with quick and effective access to pain relief, whatever the time of day
As Devon is a large county and predominantly rural, access to swift healthcare can sometimes be challenging, in particular out of regular hours when health and social care workers are required to travel back and forth across the county in any one shift.
Sharon King, Livewell Southwest’s End of Life Care lead, said: “It’s been amazing to be able to help so many people by introducing what is really quite a simple change but quite radical in terms of the division of traditional roles and responsibilities.
“We’ve had brilliant feedback from caregivers who have felt empowered to do more for their loved ones, like changing a dressing. It’s also great that the policy doesn’t just apply to those receiving palliative care, helping as many people as possible.
“The aims of the policy have always been to reduce waiting times for people who need care and to free up time for nurses and healthcare workers to complete other tasks. Community nurses are always available to offer contact and support by telephone and provide guidance if needed.
“I’m delighted that a policy change developed at Livewell is one of two entries selected for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Shared Learning Awards 2020 which are taking place virtually on 12 November. It’s great that this piece of work has been selected and may make a difference to people all over the country.”
The policy has been particularly important with the backdrop of COVID-19 where the most vulnerable have been shielding and it’s been necessary to reduce footfall in people’s homes and other settings.
The development and implementation of the policy was accelerated to help deliver the best possible care to patients at the end of life during the pandemic in the UK, over the Spring of 2020.
To read more about the policy visit the NICE website here