End of life care – care homes can do it well
By guest blogger Professor Keri Thomas,
Clinical director, National GSF Centre for End of Life Care
News that care homes could, based on current trends, overtake hospitals as the most common place for people to die, has many implications for the sector. Aside from the questions of funding and staffing, consider for a moment the preparedness of the existing care homes’ workforce.
As the number of deaths in care homes annually has risen over the last decade from 85,000 to 106,000, so the sector has, at least in pockets, upped its game in the way it cares for people in their final years of life.
Whereas ten years ago many residents would have endured numerous inappropriate hospital admissions and died in hospital, increasing numbers are benefiting from a better trained, more confident workforce equipped to better anticipate and fulfil their wishes. But these pockets of good practice though increasing, are still just the frontrunners.
Cholwell House nursing home in Somerset provides inspiration and an indication of a way forward. The 46-bed home for people with dementia was recently named the Gold Standards Framework (GSF) Care Home of the Year. Whereas previously it had no agreed plan for people at the end-of-life, now every resident and their family is given the opportunity to discuss their wishes within days of moving in. There have been no crisis hospital admissions from Cholwell House since 2010 and all the 44 residents who died last year did so in the care home, their preferred place. For the 3,000 trained and 700 GSF accredited homes, 95% of their residents die peacefully at home.
With the right training, great staff and positive attitude, care homes can prove they are ready, willing and able to meet this growing challenge and help their residents live well until they die.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.