Dying without dignity*

This report for the Parliament of the UK, available on line and already published in 2014, may be seen as a confirmation that the Gosport Inquiry Report is not a ‘technological’ incident, but part of a wider problem in health care, and more especially in the quality of end of life care. The report is based on various case studies and mentions 6 main concerns:

Not recognising that people are dying, and not responding to their needs. Without recognising these needs care cannot be planned or co-ordinated, which means more crises and distress for the person and their family and carers.

Poor symptom control, which may imply that one is dying in pain or in an agitated state because their symptoms have been ineffectively or poorly managed.

Poor communication is a major problem. It happens when healthcare professionals do not have open and honest conversations with family members and carers that are necessary for them to understand the severity of the situation, and the subsequent choices they will have to make.

– Inadequate out-of-hours services.

– Poor care planning, which may lead to the lack of co-ordinated care.

– Delays in diagnosis and referrals for treatment, which may give people no chance to plan their final wishes.

The report concludes that the findings provide further evidence in support of former findings of the House of Commons Health Select Committee report, i.e. ‘the need for more access to palliative care services; improved resources for support in the community; and better leadership’.

*Investigations by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman into complaints about end of life care. (https://www.ombudsman.org.uk/publications/dying-without-dignity-0)

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