Support for people at the end of their life in Canterbury and coastal area
Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect as they
approach the end of their life, and to be cared for in a manner and
place of their choosing.
Most people want to have a say over the healthcare they receive
in their last weeks and days. However, it is not always easy to discuss
their thoughts and wishes with those around them. Just thinking about it
can make those close to them very upset.
But in Canterbury, Herne Bay, Whitstable, Faversham, Sandwich,
Ash and surrounding areas, steps are being taken to help people let
healthcare professionals and loved ones know what they want.
The My Wishes register lets healthcare staff who are responsible
for patient care find out the out what patients want at the end of their
life. The staff then do their very best to ensure that these wishes
are respected where possible.
Dr Roxy Didehvar, Clinical Lead for End of Life for NHS
Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“A lack of
conversation is perhaps the most important reason why people’s wishes go
ignored or unfulfilled; if we do not know how to communicate what we
want, and those around us do not know how to listen, it is almost
impossible to express a clear choice. The thing people fear most about dying is the associated loss of
control. By empowering patients to express their wishes, that control
can be restored.”
The My Wishes register is a record of decisions about the type of
care people would like to receive as they approach the end of their
life, including any cultural or religious wishes
It may include information about any legal refusal of treatment
decisions they may have made and preferences on where they would like to
die, whether at home, in a care home, in hospital or in a hospice. Dr Didehvar said:
“My Wishes is invaluable to support people who
are at the end of their life. It will improve end of life care
experience for patients and their families and previous work has shown
that it helps patients to achieve their wishes in where they wish to
The information on the register is held securely online and can
be accessed only by staff responsible for the persons care, such as GP,
the ambulance service, community nurses, social care and hospice
services. They can access it at any hour of the day or night, so people
can be confident that everyone looking after them knows what care they
Patients can change their wishes at any time by talking to their
GP, hospice staff or any other health professional looking after them,
who will update it for them. Patients who are on the My Wishes register
can also call the Care Navigation Centre, which is run by Pilgrims
Hospices. The centre is available 24 hours a day seven days a week on
01233 504133 for any urgent help of advice.
More than 350 people in east Kent have already outlined their wishes on the register since its launch in August 2012.
The service is being promoted across the area as part of Dying
Matters Week which runs from 13-19 May. Displays will be manned at Kent
and Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury in the outpatients department on 14
May, in Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate on 16 May,
and in William Harvey Hospital, Ashford on 17 May.
For more information see www.eastkentendoflifecare.org
thisiskent 13th May 2013