Homes reaccredited for end of life care
Caring Times, January 2013
Growing numbers of care home residents are receiving the care they want and deserve as they approach the end of their lives, owing to the UK’s most widely used end of life care training programme.
Forty care homes which first received Gold Standards Framework in Care Homes (GSFCH) Reaccreditation Quality Hallmark Awards three years ago, will receive awards for the second time in recognition of the excellent way they care for residents in the final months of their lives, at the Eighth GSF Annual Conference at the Friends House in London in 28 November.
These homes have all demonstrated an ongoing commitment to meeting the wishes of their residents in the final months of their lives through better planned, more coordinated care enabling high quality care until the end of their lives – the main aims of the GSFCH programme.
Maggie Stobbart-Rowlands, GSFCH lead, said the success of these 40 care homes demonstrates that GSF provides care homes and their residents with a long term, sustainable care model. She said: “The GSF Care Homes programme has helped all of these homes embed quality care for all their residents as they approach the end of their lives. The workforce feels empowered which in turn means the residents are receiving the right care, in the right place, every time, protecting them from inappropriate hospital admissions and increasing their chances of dying in their preferred place of care – their care home.
“Many of the homes have more than doubled the number of people fulfilling their wish to die in their care home and halved the rate of crisis hospital admissions. GSF is helping to transform end of life care in this sector. We hope that this gold standard of care will become the de facto standard to which all care homes will aspire and that they receive the recognition they deserve for all their hard work.”
The GSF Accreditation process is now well established for care homes and has now been extended to include GP practices. In 2013 it will also include acute and community hospitals. The GSF Quality Hallmark Award is recognised externally as a means of objective quality assurance. The Care Quality Commission will use the information about accredited homes provided by GSF when it compiles its Quality and Risk Profile prior to inspections. Queen’s Oak Care Centre, in south London, exemplifies a home that has been transformed by the GSF. Before undertaking the training programme staff lacked the confidence to discuss residents’ wishes, resulting in three quarters of residents dying in hospital. Three years on, 95% of residents end their lives in their chosen place – the care home. Lorna Thomas, care manager at Queen’s Oak, said: “Before we did GSF it was just expected that people would end their lives in hospital and that is what used to happen with our residents dying in unfamiliar surroundings. GSF has changed all of that. We now work very closely with our GPs and the staff all have the confidence, training and support to talk to residents, plan their care and look after them in the home right up until their death.”
The GSFCH training programme is the most widely used programme to improve care at the end of life in the UK. More than 2,000 care homes have completed it and 200 are going through the accreditation process every year, helping to raise the standard of end of life care for residents across the country. Homes that achieve accreditation maintain that GSF helps transform the whole way in which they operate. Three years after Villa Maria nursing home, in South Croydon received its initial GSF accreditation, staff say they don’t have to think twice about how they care for the residents – it is ingrained into everything they do. Staff discuss and plan care with residents and their families either before they move in or very soon after.
Of the 26 Villa Maria residents who died last year, 25 did so in their chosen place – the home, including a 103-year-old woman who was fed her favourite sherry and cheese during her last hours. Maureen Donnelly, head of care at Villa Maria, said: “The last time one of our residents died in hospital was two years ago and that was their choice, otherwise we will do everything we can to help people spend their last days in the home. People feel the love as they come through the door, we help them live life to the full and care for them right up to the end. People tell us it’s just like being at home.”
The awards which are endorsed by all major care homes’ organisations and Skills Academy for Social Care were presented by Martin Green, chief executive of the English Community Care Association.