Report Says A Lack Of Recognition And Communication Are Key To Poor End Of Life Care

A new report that give details of people’s poor experiences of end of life care is published by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Dying Without Dignity reveals several examples of where patients and their families had negative experiences at the end of their life due to such things such as poor communication, a lack of out of hours support and a lack of recognition that the person was dying.

Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the Care Quality Commission, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said: “The PHSO’s report Dying without dignity is timely to understand what can go wrong when people do not receive safe, effective and compassionate care at the end of their life, and in identifying learning from these examples of poor care.

“During our inspections, we have found some examples of excellent end of life care where the dying person received individual care based on their needs, delivered with compassion and sensitivity by health and care professionals. This needs to become the standard across all health and care services.

“However, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has also found instances where end of life care has not been given high enough priority within a trust and where there has been poor communication between staff and the dying person and their family and inadequate planning. The five priorities for care of the dying person, launched last year, must be fully embraced to make a real difference to the quality of care for people at the end of their life.

“The PHSO’s findings highlight some of the issues we will focus on in our thematic review of the inequalities and variation of end of life care. The CQC is committed to ensuring the highest quality of end of life care, and we will continue to highlight those services which are not providing adequate care so that improvements can be made.”

We will use the PHSO’s findings to support its review of end of life care services which has a focus on why particular groups of people have less positive experiences. These include people with a diagnosis other than cancer, people with dementia; people from BAME groups, people who identify as LGBT and people with mental health needs. We expect to publish the review by the end of the year.