I am absolutely delighted to have taken on the role of National Clinical Lead for Palliative and End of Life Care for Nursing.
Having been in post for a few weeks I’m now beginning to link in with key individuals in each of the Health Boards to truly represent nursing across Scotland, ensuring the nursing voice is fully heard on behalf of patients and those important to them.
My passion is communication and I believe fully in the human connection that we as nurses have with our patients.
Compassion is about the human experience of noticing, feeling and responding.
Delivering compassionate care has to be fundamental for all staff, and supporting nurses to be able to do this is one of my main goals.
How do we best support these people to live well, help manage conditions and give quality and meaning to their life as their health declines?
This is the question I ask myself, as the Improvement Advisor for Palliative Care within Living Well in Communities, and as a daughter who looked after her Mom during the last few months of her life.
I loved my Mom so very dearly, and I started grieving while still caring for her. It was a time I found incredibly difficult.
Mom wanted to stay home but the say of doctors and the power of the system dominated the decision-making around her care. It seemed to me you were either in the system (hospital) or out (on our own).
Her palliative journey was one of pain and crisis. As her main carer, I gradually became exhausted and, whilst we tried to treasure her final months, her last few days were chaotic and full of interventions rather than the peace and respect she so very much deserved.
The Scottish Partnership for Palliative CareAnnual Conference took place on 22nd September, at the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. In attendance, a range of people from palliative & end-of-life care and the health and social care sector (including of course Living Well in Communities).
This year’s theme of Realistic Palliative Care was inspired by the CMO’s annual report: Realistic Medicine. The six point approach below is just as applicable to palliative care and quality of death.
Making the Case for Palliative Care in Times of Austerity Professor Charles Normand, Professor of Health Policy and Management, University of Dublin
What do people want? Less hassle. It is bad enough to be dying.
Evaluation of palliative care is difficult and important, so better tools for assessing value and cost need to evolve. It’s impossible to have simple measures for complex activities with complex objectives.
Early interventions can reduce costs and improve care, particularly for those with complex needs.
Improving access when needed and reducing stress on informal carers are common themes stated in palliative care preferences.
Those requiring care often have different goals and priorities than their families and carers.