Healthwatch Shropshire has just published a report about how end of life care is working in Shropshire. Following a call asking if people would be willing to share their experiences of End of Life Care they heard from patients and relatives across the county and also form staff involved with their care.
The key findings were:
- Overall the people who shared their experiences with us reported slightly more positive aspects about their experiences of palliative / end of life care than negative aspects. However nearly 80% of experiences included at least one negative aspect.
- The majority of negative experiences were around communication and information, treatment and continuity of care.
- A theme apparent from the feedback is that once it is acknowledged by staff that the patient is in need of end of life care the patient’s and family’s experience is more positive, e.g. when they go on to receive hospice services or care from the End of Life Care Team in hospitals.
- Some families found a lack of recognition by professionals that the person was at end of life and did not have the opportunity to prepare for the end of life.
- The lack of good communication or timely, relevant and accessible information was raised in 30% of experiences.
- Three families who were using end of life services in the community reported experiencing problems getting the correct medication for their relative.
- Four families had negative experiences of the rooms and facilities available in hospital at the end of life.
- Several comments raised the unsettling effect of a lack of regular care staff on patients at the end of life.
Lynn Cawley, Chief Officer of Healthwatch Shropshire, said: “We are very grateful that families who have just been through, or were going through, one of the most difficult times in their lives took the time to talk to us. We have shared the report with the local health services and are confident that the experiences that the families have shared will be used to improve the services offered in future.
We are still keen to hear about people’s experiences, both good and not so good, as they are crutial in helping local services understand what is important to patients and their families and how things can be improved.”
Both Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin and Healthwatch Shropshire have been looking into these services and the reports can be found at www.healthwatchshropshire.co.uk and www.healthwatchtelfordandwrekin.co.uk.
Healthwatch Shropshire is the independent consumer champion for health and social care in Shropshire. It gathers the views and experiences of patients, service users, carers, and the general public about services including hospitals, GPs, mental health services, community health services, pharmacists, opticians, residential care and children’s services. It has statutory powers that it can use to influence service provision by encouraging improvements. Healthwatch Shropshire also provides the Independent Health Complaints Advocacy Service (IHCAS) for Shropshire. The IHCAS service provides information, advice and, if necessary, can support people through the NHS complaints process.
Notes for Editors:
Healthwatch Shropshire is one of a network of 148 Local Healthwatch in England. It is supported by a national organisation, Healthwatch England.
It has a team working in community engagement, plus a volunteer programme, a visit programme to health and social care premises and an associate membership scheme to involve the public in its work. It also has a signposting service to help people access health and social care services and support.
Lynn Cawley, Chief Officer Tel: 01743 237884
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