Dignity and choice at the heart of Islands first ever End of Life Care Framework 13 July 2012
The Department of Health has today launched the Isle of Mans first ever End of Life Care Framework, after 18 months of a detailed research and analysis into end of life care elsewhere, as well as a review of the care available in the Isle of Man. The Framework is accompanied by an Implementation Plan for the next three years, with the aim of investing more resources in key areas such as education, training and support for carers.
Launching the Framework, Minister for Health David Anderson MHK said:
Whilst death is inevitable, and all of us at some point experience the death of friends and loved ones; death remains a subject which we are all very reluctant to discuss, often until it is too late to do so. Government understands the importance of care at the end of life, as this often has profound effect on those left behind. I would like to commend the work of all those involved in producing the Framework, which has had significant input from government agencies, the third sector such as Hospice and Macmillan, and the general public too, who took part in last years survey. We have a clear steer on the direction of travel moving forward.
A significant element of the research was the survey of the publics view on end of life care in the Isle of Man called Getting your views, which ran from June to August 2011. The survey was very successful, receiving over 1,200 replies and 30,000 items of information. This information has formed the basis of the End of Life Care Framework and Implementation Plan, ensuring that it meets the needs of the Islands community.
Kirstie Turner, End of Life Care Project Facilitator said:
Leading up to 2009 the Department of Health began to realise that the range of care it provided for dying patients could be improved. With the generous assistance of Macmillan Cancer Support I was appointed to lead the systematic review of our services. The third sector and the public themselves have been heavily involved, so the review, research and the final Framework itself have very much been a joint effort with input from all sections of our community.
The survey in particular highlighted that whilst end of life care is of high quality there are inconsistencies in the provision, especially dependant on what diseases are suffered. These inconsistencies reduce the availability of choice of care for the dying person and their family.
In order to correct inconsistencies, the End of Life Care Framework recommends the investment of more time and resources in the following areas:
- Co-ordination of services
- Practical support especially for carers
- Increasing societys recognition, understanding and acceptance of death as relevant to everyone.
There are two unexpected but welcome outcomes from the survey process in particular. Firstly; that respondents had felt encouraged to talk with their families about their end of life care choices; and secondly, that amongst the respondents, there are fewer individuals wanting to die at home than the UK. For many people the place of death is not as important as just being with loved ones and receiving good support. Clearly the survey itself has raised awareness, as I hope the publication of the Framework and its implementation will continue to do.
I would like to thank everyone, especially the general public, for their valued input. End of life care in the Isle of Man is high quality, but there is always room for improvement and a clear need for consistency, which this Framework will address.
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