I was first made aware of the launch of the End of Life Patient Charter last June via the excellent Pulse and it too was reported widely in the media – please read this article in The Guardian.
The EOL Patient Charter is a collaboration between the End of Life Care (EOLC) English Working Group of the RCGP with the RCN and the Patient Partnership Group and its aim is laudable in that it seeks to ensure that patients nearing the end of their life receive and expect an ideal of best practice from their GP and Primary Health Care Team.
The EOL Care Charter reads as follows:
“We want to offer people who are nearing the end of their life the highest quality of care and support. We wish to help you live as well as you can, for as long as you can. Therefore, if and when you want us to, we will:
• Listen to your wishes about the remainder of your life, including your final days and hours, answer as best we can any questions that you have and provide you with the information that you feel you need.
• Help you think ahead so as to identify the choices that you may face, assist you to record your decisions and do our best to ensure that your wishes are fulfilled, wherever possible, by all those who offer you care and support.
• Talk with you and the people who are important to you about your future needs. We will do this as often as you feel the need, so that you can all understand and prepare for everything that is likely to happen.
• Endeavor to ensure clear written communication of your needs and wishes to those who offer you care and support both within and outside of our surgery hours.
• Do our utmost to ensure that your remaining days and nights are as comfortable as possible, and that you receive all the particular specialist care and emotional and spiritual support that you need.
• Do all we can to help you preserve your independence, dignity and sense of personal control throughout the course of your illness.
• Support the people who are important to you, both as you approach the end of your life and during their bereavement.
We also invite your ideas and suggestions as to how we can improve the care and support that we deliver to you, the people who are important to you and others in similar situations.”
A letter from the RCGP was forwarded to all GP practices with the intention that they and other primary health care teams would ‘sign up’, discuss with care homes (and provide supportive training), display a poster on the waiting room wall, discuss with patient groups and also patients receiving palliative care (and their relatives) and that patients and relatives should receive a copy of the Charter.
Erm, it hasn’t happened. Search Pulse and it is impossible to find one article as none are archived. I did watch two videos there – one in which Dr Clare Gerada stated that GPs were best placed to initiate conversation re the Charter in care homes as they ‘know the patient best.’ Mmmmh, maybe in London Dr Gerada – but certainly not in my neck of the woods!
It is possible to find stuff on GP (online) but not much and I have never seen said Charter displayed at a GP surgery – and I do visit quite a few with our residents.
On the launch of the charter Dr Gerada stated "Care seems to break down at the very end. So often a GP has looked after someone really well, and then they are not there."
The reason for this post, two of our residents have recently died with a terminal illness and I feel strongly they would have welcomed interest in their situation from their GPs – but it was not forthcoming. Not sure they would have welcomed their own copy of the Charter though – I certainly wouldn’t as to me it (in the format offered) would be akin to receiving a ‘Well Done, You’re Dying!’ certificate…
Is the End of Life Patient Charter alive anywhere?