On February the 10th, the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment for End of Life Care was published. The JSNA aimed to inform a future strategic approach to end of life care.
The JSNA reinforced the concept that ‘End of Life Care’ is all care delivered in the last year or so of life, and is much wider than the specialist palliative care services such as hospices and specialist teams in hospitals. People approaching the last phase of life experience a range of physical, emotional and spiritual symptoms. To manage these issues effectively requires integrated and multidisciplinary working between teams and across sectors regardless of whether the person is in their home, in hospital, a care home, or hospice.
Good end of life care is also very much about the families, friends and carers of people at end of life, who also experience a range of challenges and will have their own specific needs which must be addressed before, during and after the person’s death.
The focus on supporting people to receive care, and be supported to die in their preferred place of care, requires a future shift in culture which can only be achieved by upskilling the workforce in identifying the dying phase, having ‘difficult’ conversations and managing end of life care needs and preferences. For this reason, the JSNA recommends a comprehensive and joined up training programme for all frontline staff and those who provide care to people in their last few years of life.
Whole Systems Integrated Care (WSIC) and Shaping a Healthier Future (SaHF) strategies and respective local authority strategies provide opportunities to focus on community based care and enhance end of life care.
Key messages for CCGs and GPs
The report and supplementary documents can be seen here www.jsna.info/endoflifecare