New NICE guidance urges health and care workers to consider individual’s wishes and spiritual beliefs for good end-of-life care

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has urged health and care workers, through a new quality standard, to do more to ensure they consider cultural, religious or social preferences of adults in their final days of life. The guidance sets out standards of care for those aged 18 or over in their last two to three days of life.

Findings of the 2016 End of Life Care Audit showed nearly half of all deaths in England occurred in hospital and spiritual wishes were only documented for one in seven people who could communicate their wishes.

The guidance says adults who display symptoms suggesting they may be in the last days of life, should be monitored for further changes. This will help to identify if they are nearing death, stabilising or recovering and allow the person, and those close to them, to prepare. NICE also suggests compulsory changes to medication should be anticipated so that people are not left without important medication.

This guidance will help to support health and care workers and guarantee they work together to ensure that people die with dignity and their symptoms controlled effectively.

For more information on the quality standard ‘Care of dying adults in the last days of life’ go to www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs144.

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