New guidelines could change the way end of life care is administered to patients with terminal illnesses.
Thanks to a re-evaluation of the patient charter constitution by the Liberal Democrats, patients placed in same sex wards could be eligible to sue the NHS. Also in the plans to shake up how patients rights are protected, families of patients are to be consulted before medical staff place them on the Liverpool Care Pathway.
The Liverpool Care Pathway
The LCP is a care plan which was created to enable end of life care to be administered with a greater amount of dignity and comfort for patients. Due to the sensitive nature of any care plan that deals with the structured or manageable death of a patient, the Liverpool Care Pathway has been met with some dissent by the media after a number of isolated cases where the LCP was administered under non-ideal circumstances.
The LCP was developed during the late 1990s at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, in conjunction with the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute.The goal of the LCP is to ensure a death is as dignified and as peaceful as possible.
The LCP was introduced to reduce issues arising such as:
- patients being subjected to invasive testing and treatment that offered no chance of preventing death
- causing unnecessary pain and suffering by needlessly prolonging life
New guidelines in proposed Patient’s Charter
The following list notes the proposed new guidelines as presented by health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Respect for staff – or no treatment
You should treat NHS staff and other patients with respect and recognise that violence, causing a nuisance or disturbance on NHS premises could result in prosecution and that abusive or violent behaviour could result in you being refused access to the NHS.
Prompt apology if things go wrong
To ensure that if you are harmed while receiving healthcare you receive an appropriate explanation and apology, delivered with sensitivity and recognition of the trauma you have experienced, and know that where mistakes have been made, lessons will be learned to help avoid a similar incident occurring again, and to ensure that the organisation learns lessons from complaints and uses these to improve NHS services.
Decisions on end-of-life care
You have the right, to be involved fully in all discussions and decisions about your healthcare, including in your end of life care, and to be given information to enable you to do this. Where appropriate this right includes your family and carers.
Single sex wards
If you are admitted to hospital, you will not have to share sleeping accommodation with patients of the opposite sex, in line with details set out in the Handbook to the NHS Constitution.
For more information about the Liverpool Care Pathway, visit: http://www.nhs.uk/news/2012/11November/Pages/What-is-the-Liverpool-Care-Pathway.aspx