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NHS Lincolnshire: Helping people to have important conversations about the care they would want at the end of their life

Hands

People living in Lincolnshire are being encouraged to talk to their healthcare teams about their end of life wishes; because ensuring people receive the right care has been proven to have a huge impact on a person’s well-being.

Every life really matters and whilst the NHS and other healthcare providers recognise Covid-19 has far-reaching effects, they have not changed the way they deal with patients who are towards the end of their lives.

Dr Anne Marie Powell, a GP Registrar at The Deepings Practice in Lincolnshire said: “Having discussions about care wishes and writing advance care plans improves care and mental wellbeing for patients and their families. For example, some patients would not benefit from being resuscitated, or would not wish to go to hospital. If this is not written down somewhere, it cannot be acted on.”

“Covid-19 has changed how we live our everyday lives and it has affected how we experience death, especially of those most important to us.”

She added: “Conversations about final wishes are not just about Covid-19, or age. Death does not discriminate, but talking about death and making plans for end of life care does make a real difference to how people experience the final days of their lives.”

“Therefore everyone should consider having conversations about death and dying and talking about wishes can really help loved ones. By putting plans in place now it is easier for healthcare staff to fulfil final wishes should the worst happen.”

Kerry Bareham, Nurse Consultant at St Barnabas Hospice said: “Advance care planning is an important part of supporting people to share their wishes and preferences.  We are talking to people across Lincolnshire about care plans and offering advice and support to help them to understand all of the options, so they can make right and informed choices personal to them.”

“All conversations about palliative care and areas such as resuscitation are made on a case-by-case basis and take into account the risks and benefits of any procedures as well as a person’s own wishes.”

She added:  “Ensuring that we have these conversations is critical and vitally important. Sometimes we hold back on talking about death because it is difficult. I always reassure people that they can change their minds if they wish, but most people, especially those towards the later decades of life, know how they feel and are relieved to be asked.

So if a doctor or anyone else in your healthcare team wants to talk to you about plans for care and treatment, don’t be alarmed, please say what you think, it really does matter.

For more information visit Lincolnshire’s dedicated end of care website: https://www.eolc.co.uk/public-library/.

Lincolnshire CCG